ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
Johnnie Arrives in 6 Days
Hurry Book Now
for good seats
Lee Gordon presents in
Johnnie Ray, with
Leslie Lyon- “The sensation of
last year’s Frankie Lane Show.”
The Holy Sisters- “The Dancing
Peg-Leg Bates- “You have to see
him to believe him.”
Lola Dee- “Songs in the modern
Monday 12th March
Tuesday 13th March
Book now at Music Masters,
Palings, Morrows (the Valley)
The Big Show, Brisbane
5000 Welcomed Cry Crooner
More than 5000 people swarmed into Eagle Farm Airport yesterday afternoon to shout a “Hi Johnnie” welcome to American cry and coma crooner Johnnie Ray.
fans smashed airport building windows and scrambled on to the “igloo” roofs to
catch a glimpse of the singer when he stepped from the plane and was swept into
the airport reception room. When crowds broke barriers and threatened to surge
on to the tarmac, police cordons struck out with canes and drove them back with
the uproar Ray was “sandwiched” by two policemen and almost carried upright to
the shelter of the airport terminal buffet.
the buffet the shaken crooner nervously smoked a cigarette and touched his
hearing aid while he sat at one of the tables regaining his breath and
sure is a mighty demonstration. It’s so mighty of my fans to come out in the wet
to meet me. I’m not worried about myself, but I hope none of them get hurt,” Ray
as he spoke a youth outside shoved his head through the glass window of the
buffet. Glass shattered everywhere but the youth escaped injury.
Ray’s car was leaving the airport, milling fans were trapped but not hurt
between the car and a stationary vehicle which nearly overturned in the crush.
Brisbane’s teenagers turned out in their thousands in driving rain to see the
seen him three times. Three Times!” one little widgie squealed excitedly. “It’s
dressed in casual unspectacular sportswear, spoke in a soft hesitant voice to
the crowd over the airport amplifier system.
sure is wonderful of you to come and meet me in the rain. It’s overwhelming and
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Emotion of some Ray fans is
By Peter Trundle
What is the cause of that phenomenon- the Brisbane teenager suddenly half hysterical and running berserk in public after sob-crooner Johnnie Ray?
happened again this week at Brisbane Airport where Ray was nearly smothered by
the enthusiasm of thousands of his young fans.
scratching our head savagely, and muttering, we went away to put the “Why” of
Johnnie Ray to four people: The Courier Mail’s Medical Mother, a church youth
department director, a psychologist, and an intelligent teenager of 17.
Medical Mother said: “The teenagers are looking for a hero to whom they
can devote themselves. Johnnie Ray, to them, probably personifies romance- a
subject they like to talk and think about.”
Medical Mother said that the uncontrolled emotion of many Ray fans was
dangerous. It was a sign of instability. She said that teenagers needed some
great national idea, personified in an attractive leader, to which they could
devote their enthusiasm.
“Teenagers need to be kept busy with sport, education, and other healthy
interests,” Medical Mother said.
N. F. Nelson, Director of Youth of the Presbyterian Church, said: “Many young
people today feel that, with the world so chaotic, they have very little on
which to fasten their future. They are groping around. They seize upon the
excitement of the moment.” Mr. Nelson said that the unruly actions of many
teenagers resulted from a lack of discipline in the home.
laxity goes back a long way. It began after the first world war,” he said. “As a
result, many parents today are lacking in self discipline. They cannot manage
psychologist is Miss E. Harwood, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Queensland
University. A “form of mass hysteria” and “part and parcel of a mob psychology”
was how Miss Harwood described the uproar reported at Brisbane Airport on
think it was due to a fairly natural desire by young people to be part of the
group,” she said. “Their actions were probably imitative of what they thought
that a teenager should be. They were probably trying to copy their United States
“Screaming in the presence of Ray was probably due to a wish to relax
usual behaviour, which the teenager might consider was too restrained.”
teenager, a fan of Johnnie Ray, is pretty Robyn Brown, a typist, who is studying
in her spare time for the Senior Examination. Ray autographed her student’s copy
of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
are you a fan of Johnnie Ray?” we asked her.
has a colossal personality,” she said. “His voice sends you. His singing style
is all his own. The other singers are so ordinary.”
do some teenagers squeal when Ray sings?”
are starved for attention. By squealing they show themselves off.”
continued: “Teenagers like to be taken notice of. Johnnie does that. He flatters
Courier Mail 31 May 1956
New Control for Boy- Girl Dances
Melbourne: An Intermediate
Certificate will be the minimum qualification to secure an invitation to G.P.S.
dances and parties in Melbourne from now on. (An Intermediate Certificate in
Victoria is equivalent to the Junior Certificate in Queensland).
parties are to start at 8pm and end not later than 11.30pm and should be
inexpensive to the host or hostess. These proposals are among a number in an
open letter sent to parents of G.P.S. scholars by the headmasters and
headmistresses of independent schools of Victoria. They recommend that school
holiday parties should have adequate adult supervision. They also recommend
girls should meet as many different partners as possible;
should be by invitation;
should be limited to three piece;
should discourage parties in their own homes after the dance;
girls should call for their daughters after the dance rather than have boys hire
a taxi and then face a long tram ride home.
Courier Mail Thursday 14 June 1956
Bodgies Police in Fight
Melbourne: Police fought with
a bodgie gang in Coles’ Store, Bourke Street, City at lunch time yesterday. They
hustled 21 bodgies and 9 widgies from the store’s record bar, where the
teenagers had been disrupting shopping. Earlier police broke up another gang of
30 which was playing football in Swanston Street, disrupting traffic. It was the
second time this week that police had been called to remove bodgies and widgies
from big city stores. A big crowd watched the police wrestling with the gang
yesterday and traffic was held up outside Coles’ store. A police spokesman said
last night that some bodgie gangs were now armed with knuckledusters, knives and
bludgeons. They were becoming a serious menace.
Courier Mail Saturday 16 June 1956
Police Drive in City on Bodgies and Widgies
Consorting Squad detectives in Brisbane yesterday questioned about 100
“bodgies and widgies” in a day and night drive to learn their activities and
means of livelihood. Dozens were warned about their association with known
criminals. Last nights drive was a special move following news from Melbourne
that police and bodgies had fought in a city store. Senior police officers have
told detectives that similar happenings are not to be allowed to occur in
Brisbane. yesterday several detectives visited city stores holding sales, and
mingled with large crowds. They warned off groups of teenagers moving through
some of the stores. Last night Consorting Squad detectives, T (Terry) Lewis, T.
Costello, B. Barrett, and R. Breakwell visited Brisbane dance halls, wine
saloons and the Stadium. Several youths with “bodgie” hair cuts were charged
with drunkenness. In a tour of Brisbane and inner suburbs, the detectives
questioned more than 100 youths and girls. Several girls were advised against
their association with youths, and four youths were “booked” for
Courier Mail Monday 20 August 1956
small determined group of young Inala residents is setting out to disprove
rumours that the satellite town is a bodgie widgie haunt. Led by teenager Miss
Mary Maguire and aided by Progress Association officials, the group has
established a youth club open to youths and girls between the ages of 14 and 25.
The club aims to promote cultural, social and sporting activities, among the
youth of Inala.
Last night, the club’s 10 member committee (six youths and four girls)
met to plan future activities for the satellite town’s young men and women.
Inala Progress Association Secretary (Mr. K. Brown) who attended last
night’s meeting, afterwards said that a “wild minority” had earned Inala its
bodgie widgie reputation.
Brown said that the Youth Club was a follow up to the Boys’ Club which was
established some months ago, and now had 250 members.
“But we are handicapped by the fact that there is no public hall at Inala which the clubs can use,” he said. He appealed for donations of sporting equipment for the Youth Club
Courier Mail Thursday 6 September 1956
Letters to the Editor
Blaming Parents is Slightly Ridiculous
Although still in my early forties, I fear that I am no longer young at heart because I cannot sympathise with the average teenager’s expectations that everything in the garden should be rosy.
While concerned about
the dissatisfaction among most teenagers, I think that the continual stress on
parental failure is becoming slightly ridiculous. Teenagers should take more
advice from their parents instead of “following the leader.” Mothers are only
human and therefore admittedly make our share of mistakes. This is balanced by
our love for our children.
We are in the
unfortunate position of being “the corrector in chief,” and very often the
“spoil sport.” The average mother’s life is one of sacrifice for her children. I
would suggest to teenagers that mothers may be likened to camels. They are
mostly burdened with financial worries beyond the ken of teenagers. Most mothers
around the 40 mark are certainly not at their physical best, often as a direct
result of child rearing, and this constant wail of “It is your fault” may well
prove the last straw. Most teenagers have the best education that their parents
can afford, a good home, and love. Let them repay some of their debts by a more
cheerful and considerate attitude to their parents, easing some of their
worries, and worry less about their own very vague dissatisfactions.
“Mother of five”
Courier Mail Monday 10 September 1956
Letters to the Editor
Bodgie Faults are not to be blamed on our children
parents and other adults are not to blame for teenage misbehaviour, then who
Children born within the last 20 years are no worse, and no better,
congenitally than at any other period. If their behaviour is worse, it can only
be the result of the training and example they receive from adults.
is adult greed that is responsible for the production of radio programmes,
literature and films. Not to a standard suitable, healthy and enjoyable to
youngsters, but to a low standard which they believe that children want, however
over stimulating and unwholesome it may be for them.
Naturally the youngsters grow up with an appetite for this type of
entertainment, and are susceptible to its influence.
is adult greed which started the teenage cult, stressing teenage fads and
fashions. Adults profit by the bodgie cult, in the manufacture and sale of
“bodgie” clothing. While these evil influences flourish unchecked, it is the
individual responsibility of parents and teachers to counteract them by every
means. The best means, of course, are self discipline and a good example, and
kindly and loving but firm teaching in obedience.
Mrs. Margaret J. Bird,
15 Llewellyn Street,
Courier Mail Thursday 13 September 1956
Riot in London. Two Police Hurt in Rock ‘n’ Roll
London- September 12 (AAP) two
policemen were injured last night in trying to disperse a “rock 'n' roll” riot
of teenagers and Teddy Boys in South London. Singing and jiving teenagers had
started a street “rocking” session after a performance in a local cinema of
“Rock Around the Clock.”
This jazzy American film has caused similar disturbances all over Britain. Bottles and fireworks were thrown, and four shop windows were smashed. One policeman was detained for a time in hospital. Nine people were arrested. Some will appear at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court and others at East London Juvenile Court later today.
Crowds began to form
after the performance of “Rock Around the Clock”, and when police intervened,
they formed jiving groups, fighting and rioting broke out.
Two Lancashire towns,
Blackburn and Preston, yesterday banned the showing of “Rock Around the
The Town Clerk of
Blackburn (Mr. F. Squires) said the ban was on the ground that the film
contained matter likely to lead to public disorder. A cinema manager at
Brentwood, Essex, has cancelled the film, which was to have been shown at his
cinema on September 27.
yesterday where there were riots during a showing of the film at the weekend,
officials at the Gaiety Cinema “vetted” a queue waiting for admission and turned
some youths away. In Bootle, Lancashire, police used batons to shepherd a gang
of 1000 shouting screaming youngsters, after 500 of them left a “Rock ‘n’ Roll”
cinema. In London yesterday, other “rock 'n' rollers” were fined for their parts
in weekend outbreaks, in which, witnesses said, they:
poured out of a cinema in a horde, ran about the streets and halted
blocked pavements as they jived and sang;
jostled passersby and behaved insultingly.
Fines ranged from 10/-
One magistrate said:
“I personally think it is a pity that you have to be brought into court. It
would be better if the police were allowed to deal with you in the way which
would give you something to rock 'n' roll about for a bit.”
Courier Mail Friday 14 September 1956
Rock 'n' roll
Young enthusiasts need not
feel too disturbed at the scientific test reported from Liverpool, in which six
chimpanzees turned up their noses at Rock 'n' roll music. This does not prove
that Rock 'n' roll is no good. Not a bit of it. It does open up the possibility
though that chimpanzees have finer feelings than we have given them credit for
up to date.
Courier Mail Wednesday 19 September 1956
The Queen sees Rock 'n' roll Film
London. September 18. (AAP)-
Queen Elizabeth has asked to see the film “Rock Around the Clock” which has led
to rock 'n' roll disturbances in several British towns.
copy of the film was sent from London yesterday to Balmoral, where the Queen is
on holiday, the Daily Mirror said today.
Daily Express reported that showings of “Rock Around the Clock” has been
banned by country councils in
Stockport, Cheshire, and Gloucestershire yesterday.
at Burt St. Edmunds in Suffolk, no objections were raised by members of a watch
committee after a private showing of the film.
Malcolm Sargeant, conductor of the BBC symphony orchestra, said to day that rock
'n' roll music was “nothing more than an exhibition of primitive tom tom
thumping, and was ‘centuries old’. It was not ‘new and wonderful’ as many young
people thought. It had been played in the jungles for centuries.”
Courier Mail Wednesday 19 September 1956
Letters to the Editor
As the police are so assiduous
in raiding Bingo games which do little if any harm, I should like to know why we
never hear of houses of ill repute being raided? I understand that they are also
Courier Mail Thursday 20 September 1956
10 in Hospital in Rock Riot
New York. September 19 (AAP) A
“rock 'n' roll” riot broke out last night at the enlisted men’s club at the
Newport Naval Base, Rhode Island. Police said that both white and Negro
servicemen attended a dance there. But they were unable to determine whether it
was a racial riot.
Police estimated that nearly 2000 people were at the “rock 'n' roll”
Hollywood yesterday, Bill Haley, the rock 'n' roll star, said that he was “very
honoured” that Queen Elizabeth had asked for a special showing of his film,
“Rock Around the Clock.”
Haley is making a successor to “Rock Around the Clock” which now is
causing a furore among British audiences.
feel that there is no harm in the picture, and the Queen will realise it,” he
Haley said that he hoped to have a chance to play before Queen Elizabeth
when he goes to England for a series of “one night stands” next February.
Haley described his music as “young and happy- just for teenagers to
dance to and let off a little steam.”
“Any other effect is exaggerated,” he said.
Courier Mail Friday 28 September 1956
Rule on Sin of Kissing
London: Kissing between
unmarried and unrelated people was a venial sin, if it created immediate carnal
pleasure. The Vatican inspired pastoral magazine, Palestra Del Clero, has
was a mortal sin if it heralded further sexual acts, it said.
Kisses between husband and wife, or relative, were not sinful if the
intention was pure.
magazine, which is published in Rome, was quoting church theologians who had
been asked for a ruling in the case of a 15 year old boy who had confessed to
kissing his girlfriend passionately.
priest had said that he was guilty of a mortal sin, but a second priest had been
of the opinion that the boy’s action was not such a grave sin.
theologians based their ruling on pronouncements on kissing made by Popes
Clement the Fifth (1305 to 1314) and Pope Alexander the Seventh (1655 to
Courier Mail 2 October 1956
The Davy Crockett film
currently in cinemas was creating a demand for coon skin hats…among young
Courier Mail Wednesday 3 October 1956
Gang Violence in New York
New York: October 2 (AAP)-
Four teenage members of an “Elvis Presley Club” were charged today with having
murdered a member of a rival “rock 'n' roll” gang. In Court they wore side lever
“Presley haircuts” and matching slacks and coats of green and black.
“These are Elvis’ favourite colours,” one of them told a Judge.
four youths, members of a Harlem gang called the “Noble Englishmen,” stabbed a
member of the rival “Robins” gang in a weekend gang battle. They told police
that the argument started when some Robins insulted their singing style.
London, bluebloods rocked and rolled in their pyjamas in West End last night.
Among them was Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, in pyjamas of the palest blue.
party, planned as a “rock 'n' roll binge of the year,” was given by Ilsa
Rivett-Carnac, daughter of Vice-Admiral Carnac, and Valerie Petrie, a friend of
Lord Moynihan’s son, Tony.
guests arrived in pyjamas, nighties or panties, and the party was termed a great
in Chicago, when a radio station presented a continuous 12 hour concert of
Presley records yesterday, one woman said that she wanted to hang out her
washing but couldn’t because she might miss a song, and another said that her
baby, usually crying all morning, slept while Presley sang.
The Roll is Rocking US
Sydney: Rock 'n' roll music was “the worst thing that ever happened to America and American music.” Top US drummer, Buddy Rich, said this last night.
terrible,” said Rich, who arrived with his wife and baby daughter for a 10 week
kids over there are now carrying knives, guns, and switchblades. This music has
encouraged a wave of juvenile delinquency.”
one in America likes it. It’s set music back 100 years over there.”
added: “Following the success of Elvis Presley, there’s a bunch of hillbilly
kids cropping up now cashing in on the Presley style. Unfortunately the impact
is with the younger kids. Older people regard it as a joke. Anyway let’s hope
it’s just a flash in the pan. In six month’s time, it might be just another
funny name like Li’l Abner, and that’s where they ought to send it to- back to
will appear with other American entertainers, Stan Freberg, Don Cornell and Joe
“Fingers” Carr at Brisbane Stadium on October 18.
Preaching at St. John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, last night, Canon I. F.
Church said that in his earlier years, St. Francis of Assisi had resembled a
certain young Englishman at present in Australia, who had a n inclination
towards rock 'n' roll music. He said that the world, remembered St. Francis, for
the great belief in God that obsessed him.
Rock 'n' roll at Birthday
London. October 9. (AAP) Rock
'n' roll rhythm will echo around a stately Buckinghamshire home tonight at the
21st birthday party of the Duke of Kent. The Duke likes rock 'n' roll
and the Queen, who will be a guest, has recently shown an interest in it.
Hollywood. October 10. Bosomy
actress Jayne Mansfield and Rock 'n' roll singer Elvis (“The Pelvis”) Presley
will co-star in a film entitled “The Love Machine.
Twentieth Century Fox spokesman said that no script had been written but that
the plan was for a comedy “taking advantage of his singing and her figure.”
Production might start early in 1957 but that depended on Presley’s other
Presley finished his first picture “Love Me Tender” at Twentieth Century
Fox yesterday. In it he co-stars with Richard Egan and Debra Paget.
Mansfield is working in another picture at the studio “The Girl Can’t Help
They All Rocked at Duke’s
London. October 10. (AAP)- The
big question was- would the Duchess of Kent really permit rock 'n' roll music at
the Duke’s 21st birthday party. She did. And the Queen and Duke of
Edinburgh among others, danced to it.
was the party of the year, with champagne, lobster, rock 'n' roll, and £25,000
worth of jewellery being worn.
young Duke, 7th in line to the throne [then] received a roomful of
presents from 1500 guests, including a pile of rock 'n' roll records, his
Duke of Kent personally selected many of the dance tunes, including “See You
Later Alligator,” and, of course, “Rock Around the Clock.”
Rock 'n' Roll Next Week
dance will be a prelude to the film “Rock Around the Clock” which will open at
the Tivoli Theatre next Thursday.
Shark Hunter on Bodgie
Coolangatta: Point Danger swimming pool proprietor Jack Evans has mounted a gun guard to keep out “holidaying bodgies.”
Evans, 42, who has meshed 877 sharks along the South Coast, says that the
man-eaters are “tame” compared with bodgies. Recently a large group of teenager
bodgies broke into Evan’s children’s swimming pool. “They held a party and left
dozens of broken bottles around. I spent hours cleaning up the mess.”
Diary of a Doctor To Rock 'n'
roll is Human, To Understand Divine.
Parents of each generation often feel that children today are worse behaved than were those of their young days. Evidence points the other way.
“You look a little heavy eyed,”
said the Ear, Nose and Throat Bloke to one of the Honoraries, at afternoon tea.
“Had a busy 24 hours?”
“Not particularly,” was the
reply. ‘I’ve merely been entertaining lunatics.”
“How come” asked the Ear, Nose
“Have you heard of something now
happening at parties called Rock 'n' roll?” asked the Honorary.
“I have teenage children,” he
continued, “One of them had a birthday last night. Being an indulgent father, I
turned back the carpet, gave them a pound or two for some new records. What I
witnessed makes it clear that they all need psychiatric attention. It went on to
the early hours and they seemed to finish in a daze, a dancing daze.”
“You fellows make me rather
despair at times,” came the voice of the other “If you would only read your
medical history…indeed a little world history…you would understand your
patients…young people…and indeed the whole world so much better. Dancing
excitements have been with us down the years. There are fewer of them than there
used to be, and they are probably less startling than they used to be. Have you,
for instance, heard of the Tarantella?”
“isn’t that a musical piece or
“It’s a dance, and 500 years ago
it became a mania. People, especially young people, danced it with the complete
abandon till they fell to the ground exhausted. They used to drag the
unconscious bodies out of the dancing arena. Incidentally participation in the
frenzy was supposed to cure spider bites. The Tarantella went on its merry way
for nearly 300 years..”
“You mean rock 'n' roll could go
“No. The young people of today
are more sensible, better educated and healthier than any young person the world
has yet known.”
Courier Mail 1 November
Brisbane’s rocking to the beat
for happy feet.
It’s rock, rock, rock around the clock to
Bill Haley and His Comets
Freddie Bell and His
and 17 out of this world song
R-O-C-K; Razzle Dazzle; A.B.C.
Boogie; See You Later Alligator, etc.
2nd big Show- “Fury
at Gunsight Pass.” (G).
10.14, 1.22, 4.43, 7.45. R. 7.27 Cinesound Review.
With the Largest Rock ‘n’ Roll
Line up ever presented in Australia.
With 6 Big Bands
And Ten Vocalists.
All in Person
Next Wednesday night-
Non 7th – Book
At Music Masters
Ringside 7/6d General Admission
Courier Mail Saturday 3 November
*** “The Dam Busters” (St. James)
Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” (Rex).
“We’re No Angels” (WinterGarden).
** “The Last Hunt” (Metro).
* “Rock Around
the Clock.” (Tivoli)
“We’re No Angels”
“Rock Around the Clock”
All in their third week.
Courier Mail Saturday 3
“Boy Award as help to
Bodgies and Widgees in
Australia could be straightened out with a plan now successfully operating in
Mr. Henry D. Grymes, a United
States youth leader and Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of
Young Mens’ Christian Association clubs, said this in Brisbane yesterday. Mr.
Grymes proposed the American Y.M.C.A.’s “Boy of the Month Club.” Each community
would nominate its “boy of the month” selected for something outstanding he had
achieved. Mr. Grymes explained, “A kid loves to inflate his ego. He wants to
attract attention. It’s a form of exhibitionism. Rock ‘n’ roll is another
manifestation of the same thing. The boy of the month gets attention in the news
headlines. That is vital to the scheme. When bodgies and widgees see another
youth in the headlines for doing something good, they’ll want to be in it
themselves. It’s simply turning a negative into a positive. It is working well
Joe Fingers Carr
Book at Palings, Music
One Night Only Thursday 29
The Big Show- Brisbane
Show Definitely on.
Roc k ‘n’ Roll
k ‘n’ Roll
Stadium tomorrow. 8pm.
We’ll be there
All Star Cast
Ron Gowans and his
World’s Marathon Drum
“Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll
“King of the Rock”
Playing “Rock ‘n’
with Piano Rock
with his Drum Rock!
Lovely Fran Griffith
“Queen of the Rock ‘n’
and many many more
Farewell performance of
America’s Foremost exponent of
Rock ‘n’ Roll
You be there!
Book Now at Music
Admission 5/- and
Courier Mail Thursday 20
Rocker Riot in Brisbane
Police arrested eight
teenagers when Brisbane’s first rock ‘n’ roll riot stopped traffic in Albert
Street, City, last night. Police reinforcements were rushed to the Brisbane
Stadium when teenagers began rioting in the streets. Trouble started in the
Stadium during a rock ‘n’ roll festival. Police had to quell several
disturbances during the show. Police said several youths tore down electrical
conduit in the stadium. As the crowd left the stadium, about 10.30pm, several
disturbances started. One group of teenagers abused police.
Several police had their caps
snatched off and uniforms torn during struggles. Police stopped and dispersed a
yelling crowd of several hundred teenagers who were advancing up Albert Street
towards Queen Street. All traffic was stopped in Albert Street between the
Stadium and Queen Street soon after 10.30pm. One youth smashed a bottle on a
police car. A policeman was hit on the head by a stone. Six youths and two girls
were later charged at the City Watchhouse on a number of charges, including
disorderly conduct, assault, and obscene language.
Courier Mail 23 November 1956
Police will be ready for
Rioting by Youths
Police had been unprepared for
Wednesday night’s rock ‘n’ roll riot but would be ready if it occurred again,
Detective Sub Inspector Mahony (prosecutor) said in the Police Court
Six men and two women were
charged after a clash with police in Albert Street at the end of a Stadium
William John McLune, 20,
woodworker, pleaded guilty to having assaulted Detective Sergeant M. A. Hopgood,
used obscene language, and resisted Constable A. V. Potts. Sub- Inspector Mahony
said the Stadium “bleachers” section was deliberately set alight by a gang of
hoodlums. Police put the fire out before any great damage was done. Electrical
wiring was pulled off the walls. He said that after the concert hundreds of
teenagers began “rockin’ ‘n’ rollin” in Albert Street, where they clashed with
police squads. McLune used obscene language and when arrested, threw himself on
the footpath. McLune was fined a total of £13 or a month’s jail. He was allowed
14 days to pay.
Charles Henry Jones, 18, coal
miner, of Ipswich, pleaded guilty to having assaulted Constable M. V. Liddle,
used obscene language and behaved in a disorderly manner. The prosecutor said
Jones was arrested after he had jumped on the back of a detective who had
arrested another demonstrator. Jones was fined a total of £10 and allowed a
month to pay.
Desmond Duke, 21, labourer,
who pleaded not guilty to five charges, was remanded until 29 November. He was
charged with having assaulted and resisted Sergeant H. E. Warburton, assaulted
Constable S. L. Hopper, and destroyed two police caps valued at £1/ 19/ 3d.
Asked by Mr. Taylor whether he applied for bail, Duke shook his head and walked
to the Watchhouse cells.
Michael Charles Warren, 17,
clerk of Salisbury, was remanded until 29 November when he pleaded not guilty to
having willfully damaged Constable J. K. Mahony’s wrist watch, behaving in a
disorderly manner, and using insulting words. His sol (Mr. J. T. Delaney) said
Warren had a complete answer to the charge. Warren was allowed £40 bail on his
Daniel Michael O’Connor, 21,
meat worker, of Cannon Hill, forfeited £1 bail when he failed to appear on a
charge of having behaved in a disorderly manner.
Noel Evan James, 17, clerk,
also forfeited £1 bail, when he failed to appear on a similar charge.
Mary McMillan Clarke, 17,
calculator operator, of Clayfield, forfeited £1 Watchhouse bail when she failed
to appear on a charge of having behaved in a disorderly manner in Queen
Monica Smith, otherwise
Frances Martin, 19, cake packer, forfeited £2 bail when she failed to appear on
a charge of having used insulting language.
Courier Mail 23 November
The “rock and rollies” who
made a nuisance of themselves in Brisbane on Wednesday night were most of them
teenagers. As some teenagers like to do, they were “showing off.”
The police took a serious view
of their conduct, perhaps too serious. A sharp lecture might have brought most
of them to their senses, and sent them home shamefaced. There is a risk that
some of them will now want to pose as heroes or heroines- among their mates
because they were tried in a police court and fined. They really behaved like
silly children, and if those who were only mischievous and not a serious menace
to life and property had been treated as such, they would probably now want to
forget the ridiculous exhibition they made of themselves.
Courier Mail 27 November
Letters to the Editor
Your editorial “Showing Off”
(Courier Mail 23 November 1956) directed attention to police action necessary to
control hooligans. As a taxpayer, I object to the police having to keep in order
irresponsible children of irresponsible parents. I would suggest the
reintroduction of the birch rod for delinquents and a garnishee of the parents’
Last Wednesday night I allowed
my daughter to attend the rock ‘n’ roll festival with a young male student
companion. On her arrival home, she was really distressed about what she had
witnesses. Her opinion was that some sections of the audience were badly behaved
and needed some restraint, but certainly not the bashing that was handed out to
them by the police. My opinion is that the authorities are treating the effect
and not the cause. Why isn’t some legislation passed to ban rock ‘n’ roll from
radio, screen and Press and also prosecute firms selling clothing which “makes”
the bodgie and widgee types.
I do not agree with the
Courier Mail editorial stating that a sharp rebuke would have checked the wild
teenagers in Albert Street. I come from a certain western town where the police
Sergeant had his own unofficial method of dealing with law breaking youngsters.
He waited until there was a crowd around, then he got the offender by the shirt
and pants and gave him a heave with a gentle kick in the rear to help him on his
way. None of them could stand up to the jeering laughing crowd, and they never
came back for a second time.
I’m sure all mothers of
teenagers are with me in whole hearted thanks for the censoring of the unsavoury
comics and “pulp” magazines. Let us keep before our young people the best in
Courier Mail 24 November
“Look for a ‘gang of
Detectives are seeking a gang
of “out of work” bodgies in their investigation into the mystery death of a 48
year old man in the Valley. This switch in the police search followed
information that a young man had been brutally bashed by a bodgie gang near an
Adelaide Street dance hall late on Sat night. The gang robbed the young man and
stripped him of his shirt and trousers….
Courier Mail 28 November
100 Police on Watch
One hundred police were on
duty at Brisbane City Hall last night to prevent any trouble at the rock ‘n’
roll concert. They included uniform, plain clothes and military police. One
thousand teenagers were at the concert. They spilled in a mass through King
George Square, when the concert ended at 10.45pm. They screamed, whistled,
cheered and “counted out” the police. But apart from moving them on, police had
to take no action.
Courier Mail 29 November
Letter to the Editor
“Disgusted by Police”
At last Wednesday’s “riot” at
the Stadium, many rather decent chaps and girls were present who were disgusted
by the way in which the police handled the situation. Perhaps a little more tact
would have prevented such a display. Most of the young ones rebelled against the
way some girls were treated by officials.
Courier Mail Friday 30
Rock ‘n’ Roll Charges Denial by
A barrister said yesterday
that the City Council had suspended a teenage clerk pending the outcome of
charges against him arising from a rock ‘n’ roll disturbance. The barrister (Mr.
O. J. North) was appearing for the youth before Mr. Taylor, SM, in the Police
Court. Constable J. K. Mahony, who had arrested the youth, told Mr. North that
by his appearance he would not type the youth as a bodgie. Constable J. K.
Mahony denied to Mr. North that police had set out to clean up “bodgies” on the
night of the Stadium “rock ‘n’ roll” show. Mahony denied that on arrival at the
Watchhouse he hit the youth. Michael Charles Warren, 17, in the solar plexus,
knocking him to the ground. Warren has pleaded not guilty to having behaved in a
disorderly manner in Albert Street; willfully damaging a watch the property of
Constable Mahony, and used insulting words to Detective R. K. Edwards “get out
you mug copper.” Evidence was taken only on the behaving in a disorderly manner
charge. Warren was remanded until today on his own £40 bail bond. Mr. North was
instructed by Messrs. Feather, Walker and Delaney.
Courier Mail Saturday 1 December
Warren was discharged on the charge of behaving in a disorderly manner.
Courier Mail Thursday 20 December 1956
Letters to the Editor:
Bodgies in High School
It is very heartening to read
where a school boy has been dropped from his school football team because of a
Tony Curtis haircut. I trust the principals of some of our high schools in
Queensland will rid their schools of “bodgie” style hair cuts. The “bodgie”
style is the badge of a cult, and recent happenings in one particular high
school have shown that unless a stand is taken now, “blackboard jungles” will
soon be found here in Brisbane. Some students who sat for the Junior Examination
three weeks before turned up at speech night dressed in “bodgie” style clothing
with “bodgie” haircuts. School socials will be discontinued at one school next
year because of the behaviour of “bodgie” types this year.
Courier Mail 19 December
London: December 19 (AAP) Six
year old Princess Anne rock ‘n’ rolled in her seat when she and Prince Charles
saw their first pantomime, “Dick Whittington,” in London yesterday. The sight of
George Formby, in his first pantomime part as Idle Jack, rock ‘n’ rolling to
“Rock Around the Clock,” was too much for the little Princess. She rolled and
swayed in her seat. Her hands beat time in the air. The Queen and Princess
Margaret laughed at her.
January 2, 1957. Courier
All the Stars of “Rock
Around the Clock”
Bill Haley and His Comets
of the Great Film “Rock Around the Clock”
of the Great Film “Rock Around the Clock.”
Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys
of the Great Film “Rock Around the Clock.”
La Verne Baker.
cast of 27 American Rock ‘n’ Rollers flown direct from Hollywood.
Wednesday, Thursday nights only.
Bookings open tomorrow at Palings and Music Master.
Big Show, Brisbane Stadium.
Courier Mail Thursday 3 January 1957
Letter to the Editor from ‘Rustle of
Why not ban Rock ‘n’ Roll.
delinquency, why not ban ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and ‘Elvis the Pelvis,’ films and
records from this Country. Why do many of our teenagers worship low grade
Americans with their vulgar jokes, dances, and manners.”
Courier Mail Sat 5 January 1957
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ founder to visit
The man who
claims to have originated the teenage craze of Rock ‘n’ Roll will arrive in
Brisbane on Wednesday. He is middle aged balding guitar player, Bill Haley, who
achieved overnight success with one recording about 18 months ago. The recording
“Rock around the Clock,” was first used as the theme for the film “Blackboard
Jungle,” and went on to become one of the best selling records of the year.
Later a film, “Rock around the Clock,” starring Haley and his band, was made and
caused near riots in movie theatres throughout the world. Police patrolled the
aisles during the screening of the film in Brisbane, at the Tivoli theatre, but
there were no serious demonstrations.
Haley, who has called his band Haley’s Comets, has consistently defended rock ‘n’ roll music against charges that it has contributed to juvenile delinquency in several countries.
police will be on duty to control rock ‘n’ roll concerts starring ‘Haley’s
Comets’ and other overseas entertainers at the Brisbane Stadium next Wednesday
and Thursday. At least 12 uniformed police will be doing “specials.” The police
will be men who are rostered for days off, but who have agreed to do special
duty at the Stadium, and who will be paid by the management. Stadium managers
(Mr. Bert Potts) said last night that for normal concerts about seven “specials”
police were obtained.
decided to have extra police at the show because of riots at rock ‘n’ roll
concerts both here and abroad,” he said. “However,” said Mr. Potts, “American
artists are appearing on the shows next week, and we expect a different class of
audience to that which caused the riots at the Stadium at the last rock ‘n’ roll
concert.” Several people were charged in the Police Court after a clash with
police at a concert of Australian entertainers at the Stadium on November
Courier Mail Monday 7 January
the Editor. Mr. E. D. Greig of Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe wrote:
Looks at Rock ‘n’ Roll
bothered to analyse rock ‘n’ roll for what it is, or the types who are
influenced by its rhythm. Rock ‘n’ roll links itself with the homelessness of
the individual; this can be either material or physical homelessness. The notes
possess an ecstasy which encourages a joyful abandonment to the sensual
excitement created by the rhythmic beat, and the subject finds release from all
the pressures which confine the teenagers to adult limitations. I am a parent
and I see in organised rock ‘n’ roll, a true means of getting to understand the
perplexities of adolescence. I like to see this measure done by youth in normal
healthy circumstances. Don’t condemn- try looking at why teenagers need such a
release from the common ties of home life.”
Letter to the Editor, Courier Mail. Monday
7 January 1957
doesn’t ‘Rustle of Spring’ (Courier Mail 3 January 1957) rustle off with his
rock ‘n’ roll bans and leave teenagers alone. Rock ‘n’ roll is no worse than the
Charleston, or the bunny-hug, or jive- or any other form of dance.”
Cotterell, of Grosvenor Street, Maryborough.
Courier Mail Tuesday 8 January 1957
He’ll Calm Rockers with the
Roller Bill Haley will play “God Save the Queen” if teenagers get out of hand at
his Brisbane Stadium concert tomorrow and Thursday. He reasons that his audience
will then stand quietly at attention. But he usually employs a simpler method
for quietening young audiences. He simply stops playing.
30, has already made a fortune out of rock ‘n’ roll. He lives with his wife and
five children in a $100,000 (£44,640) mansion in Chester, Pennsylvania.
records made by his band, known as Haley’s Comets, now total nearly 17 million.
According to Haley, Elvis Presley would have remained a nobody if Haley’s band
had not pioneered rock ‘n’ roll. A few years ago Haley toured 183 American
schools and colleges to find out what young people, who bought most of the
records, wanted. On the basis of his findings, he evolved a style which brought
him quick fame 18 months ago with his recording of “Rock Around the Clock.”
in the film, “The Blackboard Jungle,” and later as the title piece of a film
devoted to rock ‘n’ roll, it brought him a world reputation. The “Rock Around
the Clock” film was accompanied by picture-house riots in some American and
English cities in which teenagers ripped seats, threw fireworks, broke bottles,
and blocked traffic.
that rock ‘n’ roll first became controversial, not because of the music’s beat,
but because of questionable lyrics in some songs. He claims to re-write any that
are off-colour. Other performers at this week’s concerts will include the
Platters, Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys, La Vern Baker, and Joe Turner.
Courier Mail Thursday 10 January 1957
Stadium Shook as thousands
rocked ‘n’ rolled
and his Comets shook a packed Brisbane Stadium into convulsive movement at the
climax of their first rock ‘n’ roll concert here last night. Teenagers and some
older men and women clapped, fluttered their arms, gyrated their knees and
jigged with their heels. While rows of the audience swayed in unison from side
to side, stamping and singing in time with the band. But there were no real
attempts to dance or start a rush. An estimated 10,000 attended last night’s two
a big boned, beefy man with a kiss curl coiled carefully across his brow,
strummed an electric guitar. More than 12 police patrolled outside while others
watched inside. No incidents were reported. The Comets, scarlet coated, black
trousered, and in white shoes, blew, banged, and bounced in the converted boxing
ring littered with amplifiers, instruments and microphones.
first entered, he spoke into a “dead” microphone, and had to begin his high
speed welcome twice. Members of the band took it in turns to sing, one in a
squeaky falsetto. The bass player played his instrument upside down and sideways
along the floor. He was lying face downwards on it when his pants split at the
seam, by accident or design.
“On His Back”
saxophonist knelt , writhed, buckled at the knees, and once lay down on his back
to play. During the last three numbers, and particularly during “Alligator” and
“Rock Around the Clock,” the throbbing beat mingled with the high pitched
squealing and mass hand-clapping to make a deafening noise. But during the
earlier part of the programme, the audience contented itself with cheering and
clapping, and the “rockers” were in the minority. Some teenagers sat in rapt, or
even apparently sullen, stillness. One bow tied youngster economized by shaking
Bell and the Bell Boys, another rock ‘n’ roll band, opened the programme. The
band’s pianist stood at his instrument, occasionally playing it as though he
were washing his hands vigorously, but more often improvising his own
La Vern Baker, a sultry coloured singer, wore sparkling cartwheel earrings big enough to cover her ears and half her cheeks.
Platters sang with slightly more subtlety, and Joe Turner, a benevolent bulky
Negro singer, completed the programme.
Courier Mail Thursday 10 January 1957
New Film about ‘Rock’ Fell on the
‘n’ roll the vogue, we went along yesterday to see a preview of a film called
“Rock, Rock, Rock,” soon to be seen in town. With or without commas, this
picture reaches a new level in movie entertainment- namely, rock bottom.
And, horror of horrors,
this film introduces a child
rock ‘n” roller, a Negro boy named
Frank something or other in his early teens delivers a frightful tune called
“I’m not a Juvenile Delinquent.” That is open to question. Then there is a girl
called Tuesday Weld, who plays the feminine lead. Her acting, deportment, and
attempts at dubbing song lyrics, were like last Thursday’s hash.
Rock, Rock” is just a cheap quickie, and if Hollywood hopes to exploit rock ‘n’
roll on the screen, it will have to do a bit better.
Bill Haley and His Comets in a
rock musical sensation “Don’t Knock the Rock.”
With the top new singer Alan
Dale, Alan Freed, The Tremolos, Little Richard, Dave Applicant and His
A Columbia Picture.
Hear 13 songs: Don’t Knock the
Rock; Hot Dog; Buddy Buddy; Rip It Up; I Cry More; Tutti Frutti; Calling All
Bill Haley says “Don’t Knock the
Rock” has the mostest, with more rock, more roll, than “Rock Around the
Sydney: When rock ‘n’ roll music was played people got excited, and not only moved around physically, but gave vent to noises, Mr. Justice McLelland said yesterday in the Equity Court. It could produce a “really dreadful noise,” he said. He was hearing an application for an interim “anti-noise” injunction against the proprietor of a King’s Cross coffee shop.
“If it were Chopin’s Nocturne or
a quiet waltz, it would be different,” His Honour said. The new Court order
allows the coffee shop band to play without amplifiers until 11pm seven days a
A Look at Films with P. D.
Fellow delinquents, we have been
misled. This rock ‘n’ roll business is not the social menace it’s cracked up to
be. This information we gleaned from a film called “Don’t Knock the Rock” at the
Tivoli. The message behind the title is a passionate plea to squares not to say
derogatory things about the new sensation. They say that Dad and Mum behaved
just as badly back in the roaring twenties. Hero of this piece is a character
named Arnie Haines, who SENDS almost every susceptible teenager in America. He
is just the most, but so terribly, misunderstood. He takes a holiday in his home
town of Mellondale and is promptly given marching orders by the local mayor. To
prove he is not a social menace, he puts on a big rock ‘n’ roll show, which
includes Bill Haley and His Comets, and an awful little man called Little
But a mischievous blonde ruins
the party, and poor Mr. Haines, whose screen name is Alan Dale, is practically
rocked, rolled and ruined. But he has a secret weapon- the Charleston.
Confronted with this sordid reminder of what he used to do in his youth, the
Mayor sinks off in confusion.
So Rock ‘n’ Roll is whitewashed,
innocuous as a Boy Scouts’ rally. In between all this naïve morality, we were
subjected to some moronic dialogue, quivering dancing, and monotonous
Disc Jockey, Bob Rogers, will
introduce his new programme, Rock ‘n’ Roll, tonight at 9.00pm on 4BH. The
programme will feature 30 minutes of the best Rock ‘n’ Roll music from world
London February 10, 1957- A controversial
week. The arrival of Mr. Bill Haley, his kiss curl, and His Comets, caused a
riot. This involved some 3000 “cats” and several thousand subsequent
I have just returned from a few
weeks at one of the South Coast resorts. I saw girls practically naked on the
beaches and young men not much better, and all lying about on the sand in
attitudes which, to say the least, look highly immodest. A good spanking on the
extensive areas made available by the girls and usually regarded as the proper
place for such purposes would bring them back to the realisation that a woman’s
body should be decently clothed and not excessively exposed to attract men.
There seems no doubt that this is their intention. When “dressed,” they are not
“Beat Bodgies says Stampfl.”
Bodgies and widgees would be unknown in Australia, if the country had good facilities for athletic training, world famous athletic coach, Franz Stampfl said this in Brisbane last night when he addressed a public meeting in the Albert Hall.
“If we can supply sufficient
counter attractions we can lure the young people from the dancehalls and milk
bars” Stampfl said.
To the Editor: Recently it was
impossible to enjoy any kind of entertainment in Brisbane, in particular, a good
film whatever the time of day, because of the wailing of babies in the audience.
As an answer to that, a few of the more astute cinema proprietors installed
sound proof rooms for mothers with babies in arms- or at least they planned to
Now it is impossible to enjoy
any kind of entertainment any time, anywhere, in Brisbane, without having to
listen to the interjections of bodgie and widgie types of all ages, who seem to
think it is a sign of smartness to shout remarks all over the theatre. How nice
was the baby wailing in comparison! What are the movie houses going to do about
I suggest the employment of
“bouncers” who could eject these types, the way children would be thrown out if
they did not behave. Or have them appear like naughty children on the stage
during the interval, making them look ridiculous in the eyes of their friends.
In my opinion, this is a much more disturbing thing than smoking during the
screening of a film.
C. K. Stenzel,
Blacklisted by Theatres.
Brisbane cinema managers have begun a get tough campaign against trouble making bodgies and widgies. Some have already drawn up a “blacklist” of youths and girls with past records of creating a nuisance in theatres. Ticket sellers have been instructed to refuse them admission. Many city and suburban theatres are now regularly engaging police patrols on nights when bodgies and widgies are expected to cause trouble.
In a letter to the Courier Mail
yesterday, Mr. C. T. Stenzel, of South Brisbane, said it was impossible to enjoy
entertainment in Brisbane “without having to listen to the interjections of
bodgie and widgie types…who seem to think it is a sign of smartness to shout
remarks all over the theatre.” Mr. Stenzel suggested the employment of
“bouncers” to eject the troublemakers, or “to have them appear like naughty
children on the stage during the interval.”
One Queen Street theatre manager
said last night: “We have all had trouble from these types at some time or
another, but we are not going to tolerate it any more. They’ll be put out quick
and lively the minute they begin playing up.”
Other managers said they were
keeping troublesome bodgies and widgies out of their theatre by “spotting” them
in foyers and refusing to sell them tickets. A Valley theatre spokesman said
Friday and Saturday nights were usually the worst in the week for bodgies and
Finds us Squares
O’Keefe said he and the Hon. Tony Moynihan had planned to give a series of rock ‘n’ roll concerts in Queensland country centres, but theatre managers feared damage to their theatres!
“Even in Brisbane we find box plan agents are not prepared to handle the show if we label it a rock ‘n’ roll concert,” he said. The City Hall concert at which O’Keefe and his Dee Jays played last night was called a “jazz concert.”
“Queensland is the only square State in Australia, man,” said Johnny.
“That’s not because the average person does not want us. It’s because of a minority of people who have read about rock ‘n’ roll riots. In Sydney rock ‘n’ roll is accepted socially. It’s accepted socially in England. But not in Queensland.”
Courier Mail Wednesday 20 March 1957
Elvis the Pedaller.
Old time transport (bicycle) for a new vogue singer Elvis Presley, who uses a bicycle to carry actress Lizabeth Scott and himself to and from the sound stages at Paramount studio where he is making “Loving You.” Presley actually owns four Cadillacs.
Courier Mail Thursday 21 March 1957
Teddy Boys are Sad and Lost
Other Young Englishmen are Worried
The Troubled World of Youth- Part 4- England
By John Williams
The Rock ‘n’ Roll film “Rock Around the Clock” was showing that night at a small London suburban cinema. The cinema manager quaked in anticipation and with good reason. A half hour before the show was scheduled to start, the manager’s worst fears were realised. For here came the Teddy Boys.
The Teddy Boys name is derived from the clothes they wear in shabby, pathetic imitation of the grandeur of dress in the early twentieth century era of King Edward VII. The Teddy Boys- thin, cocky teenagers- wear “drainpipe” trousers (related to American peg leg pants, and tapering, heavily padded coats. Their hair is long, often greasy. Many are organised in shady teenaged gangs. The girls match the boys, raucous voiced, shallow, talking of little beyond third rate films and reading little beyond romance novels.
Rock ‘n’ roll’s fame had spread wide, so here were the Teddy Boys pouring into the cinema. The film started and the first boops of rock ‘n’ roll exploded in their ears. The cinema went mad. Boys jerked girls to their feet. They stamped and yelled, danced in the aisles, on seats, even on the stage, blocking the film. The manager stopped the film. He broadcast for quiet. He was met by a sea of shouting, picked up, carried from the cinema, and deposited in the street. The police were called, and the night’s fun was over. After that, many areas banned “Rock Around the Clock.”
But they couldn’t ban Teddy Boys and their girls, for this is the sad lost generation that grew up with the crump of German bombs as background and the floors of dingy air raid shelters for beds. The new glass and glitter imitation Italian coffee bars, dance halls, cinemas- these are the homes for many Teddy Boys and girls. They neck on the platforms and in the carriages of the roaring underground railways that honeycomb London.
They are pale, these young East End Londoners, from lack of sunshine, lack of fresh air. The Teddy Boys eat badly too- in grimy little cafes where the menu runs to fried fish, bready sausages, and greasy eggs, always with potato chips.
This is a black picture. But, of course, only a section of London’s youth are Teddy Boys. In this huge city you probably would find as many young people who love Beethoven as love Rock “n” Roll. Many of these serious minded young people, coming to London from provincial homes, live in tiny, rented rooms, cooking meals over gas rings, perched near their beds, pushing pennies and shilling pieces into meters to get a little heating for hot water. They work hard, study hard, and save hard, except for tickets, maybe two or three nights weekly, to West End plays, ballets and musical recitals. It is these gentle, friendly young Londoners who seem to worry most about their nation’s future, who ponder the rights and wrongs of migrating to new, energetic lands. A young man who wanted to marry and then take his bride to Australia, told me: “It sounds unpatriotic, but this country is finished. We reached our natural limits many years ago. From now on we go down hill. The Empire, as was right, has broken up. It will need tremendous effort to maintain even our present standard of living. I think that our crippling income tax is at the stage where it no longer pays to display incentive, to work hard. There is no top to get to. You have seen the new Government built houses- row after row of boxes with pitiful little gardens. They’ll all be slums in 20 years. I love England but I wanted a new life while I have a chance to earn more than £15 or £20 a week, while I can own my own home, and car and save a little money, where my children can get good food and grow strong in the sunshine. The war took too much out of Britain. Germany has rebuilt. In some areas we are still planning to rebuild. You can see our tiredness in our faces in the way we uncomplainingly accept any inconvenience as if the war was still on. We are more and more content with less and less.”
Courier Mail Friday 22 March 1957
Letters to the Editor
Film Managers are punching bags for bodgies
I can tell Mr. Stenzell (Courier Mail 18 March 1957) why bodgies and widgies at picture theatres are becoming an annoyance out of all proportion to their numbers. One of the most effective remedies for these offences is to deny admission to the culprits for a month, or for all time, depending on the gravity of the offence. However, it is difficult to identify and locate the offenders because of complete lack of cooperation on the part of the audience. Furthermore, when an offender is caught in the act, it usually results in the manager of the theatre concerned becoming a punching bag for louts around the 18 to 26 age group.
Having had some experience along these lines, I know what I am talking about. The way the Act is at present constituted police cannot take any action in the case of such assault as they must see the assault in progress. The only remedy and a doubtful one, is for the manager concerned to take civil action against the perpetrator. The punishment for such an offence is usually a small bond. No theatre manager worthy of the name has any desire to see his entertainment spoiled by the actions of the people Mr. Stenzel complains about, but I am afraid that, until the Act is amended, he, like the theatre manager, will have to suffer in silence.
S. S. Clapham,
Courier Mail Friday 22 March 1957
Letters to the Editor
Lets Keep it Square
In reply to Johnny O’Keefe (Courier Mail 20 March 1957), let us keep Queensland the only “square” state in Australia. We appreciate the ban on rock ‘n’ roll by theatre owners and booking agents, who apparently are less interested in the pounds (£) and more interested in real music. We will not accept rock ‘n’ roll socially, because we cannot accept rock ‘n’ roll musically.
Courier Mail Friday 22 March 1957
French Girls and Boys Are Fed Up
They Don’t Go Mad over Rock ‘n’ Roll
The Troubled World of Youth- Part 5- France
“You can see how the French
revolution began,” said my Australian friend, nodding from our restaurant table
to the screaming, furious crowd jostling in the street outside. It was Paris, a
mild night last November. A mild night when, for the first time in a generation,
the youth of Paris was stirred to real fury. The day before Paris newspapers
with deep headlines, had announced the return of Russia’s tank cordon to
strangle free Budapest. Now the electric tension of two days was broken. In the
streets the young men and women of Paris were digging up stones and huge chunks
of roadway for use as weapons.
They joined groups of other
young Parisians armed with broken bottles and nail embedded wooden fencing.
Carrying Hungarian flags with Communist emblems torn out, they swept down on to
the Communist party’s headquarters.
Police, alerted for trouble, had
a strong armed cordon around the building. The youth of Paris swept aside the
cordon and stormed into the building. Communists, entrenched on the top floor,
threw home made bombs into the crowd below. Two or three young anti-Communists
were enveloped in flames and later died.
Meanwhile, the rioting youths on the lower floors threw office chairs, files- everything and anything- through the Red Headquarters shattered windows. Eager friends below piled it all on a huge bonfire. A second, hastily armed crowd bore down on the Communist Party’s newspaper, L’Humanité, which earlier that day had hung Russian and French flags side by side from its windows. Bottles and bricks crashed into the building, several rioters stormed inside and were “captured.” by the newspaper staff. Street fighting mounted to such fury that police sealed off the whole area. Even the underground railway stations were closed as the bloody battles swayed over Paris. For five hours the youth of Paris showed what they thought of Communism.
My friend and I had mingled with
the crowd and were stupid enough to talk English. A group of young men heard us,
waved their sticks and bottles, and shouted “Americans.” We dived into the
safety of the nearest restaurant, not waiting to explain that we were not
Americans. For this was the time of the Suez crisis, and the popularity of
Americans, never high, had reached an all time low. All things American are, as
a rule, ignored by young Paris, probably the only city in Western Europe not to
go mad over Rock ‘n’ Roll. The only signs of Americana in the student quarters
of Paris are pin ball machines- clanking and jingling up the scores while the
Parisians whoop with delight.
Days after the riot when tempers were back to normal, a young Frenchman explained his dislike of Americans.
“The typical American comes here
wearing loud clothes, loaded down with cameras, and stays three or four days
firmly convinced he is seeing Paris. He is usually with a party of fellow
Americans and so is relieved of the boredom of spending any time with the
French. He has the boyish belief, apparently given him in America, that Paris is
an excitingly naughty city. To most people, Paris is so very much more. Finally
he can’t understand why we don’t all love Americans and want to live in America.
Politically we think that the American nation is naïve. The Suez crisis was
partly the fault of their lack of Middle East policy. But all they do is act
like hurt children. If a dictator seized the Panama Canal, of course, they would
fight for it. And how would they feel if we voted in the UN with Russia against
them? That is exactly what they did in reverse. We are fed up with their
‘n’ Roll Fans Chase Record
Melbourne: Late last night
teenage groups in two capital cities were rock ‘n’ rolling their way towards a
world jive endurance record. In Melbourne, eight gaily dressed couples danced
steadily towards the mark of 14 hours, which the Australian Jazz and Jive
Society claimed was the existing record. But in Perth, four youths, who had been
rock ‘n’ rolling non-stop for 48 hours, claimed they still had 60 hours to go.
They said that the present record was 108 hours.
In Hobart at 4.45pm, yesterday,
a jive couple had stumbled off the dance floor and claimed a new world record of
Former national jitterbug
champion, Lindsay Owen, who organised the Melbourne attempt, said: “Ours is
definitely the only officially recognised non-stop record. The other attempts
are bodgie.” “They can sit down and have 10 minutes break for meals. We don’t
allow any shilly-shally like that.”
Is it not possible for the police to use more tact in dealing with so called bodgies and widgies? If spoken to by the police, and theatre managers as gentlemen, these youngsters would behave themselves and the police would have no need to hound them down. Magistrates and police should give them fair warning and not manufacture criminals out of them,
treat bodgies as gentlemen.
I wonder if “Justice” (Courier
Mail 28 March 1957) is really serious with his or her suggestion to first treat
bodgies as gentlemen. If so he or she must be very naïve. Since when has it been
the habit of our society to treat somebody as a gentleman before he has learned
to behave as one? Before he is even grown up? Since when has it been the habit
of our society to back down before troublemakers? I am sure that the police are
not “hounding” them, or trying to “manufacture” criminals, but if the
authorities are not strict now with the bodgies, who to a great extent are
nothing but spoilt children, they will not have to “manufacture” criminals in
the future either. These children have to be taught to fit themselves into our
society, and that cannot be achieved by handling them with kid gloves; they
would only consider that a sign of weakness.
Carl K. Stenzel,
51 Stanley Street,
Some Brisbane High Schools have asked boys to stop wearing bodgie haircuts. The headmaster of a West Brisbane High School yesterday said he had asked boys at parade last week to have “normal schoolboy type haircuts.”
“We have no bodgie element in
the school; in fact we have some very fine lads among the 505 pupils,” he
“But five boys have let their
hair grow in styles approaching the bodgie fashion. If we do not take steps, the
five might set a bad example,” he said. “I am not ordering all the boys to have
their hair cut the same way. They can wear crew cuts if they like; as long as
the style is clean, and the hair cut up at the back.” The headmaster said other
Brisbane High Schools had asked boys not to wear bodgie style haircuts.
Hysteria, 28 hour “rock”
Perth- A bodgie, 16, had become
hysterical after rock ‘n’ rolling for 28 hours and had to be put in the
reception house. A probation officer told the Perth’s Children’s Court yesterday
that the boy, who had slept only three hours from Wednesday to Friday, was
dragged from a rock ‘n’ roll marathon at the Young Australia League Hall last
Friday by his furious parents. His parents had him charged with being an
uncontrollable child. The Magistrate, Mr. E. B. Arney, severely criticized rock
‘n’ roll marathons and their promoters saying: “This absurd thing is of no use
whatsoever to anybody. The contests are apparently used by the promoters to make
money regardless of the consequences to youth.” He placed the boy on 12 months
probation and forbade him to attend rock ‘n’ roll concerts.
See US Band Leaders. Record stars draw 11,000
Eleven thousand people packed the Brisbane Stadium last night for two brassy rock and roll editions of the Big Show. A record equaling capacity crowd of over 5,800 jammed the house for the first show. The second show audience, waiting to get in, pulled over Albert and Charlotte Streets, blocking traffic for an hour. The bands of Stan Kenton and Lionel Hampton, and singers Cathy (“Ivory Tower”) Carr, and Guy Mitchell, with Denis Collinson’s band made entrepreneur Lee Gordon’s Record Star Parade not only a big show but a loud show. Only the easy singing Mitchell and patter man Joe Martin rescued the show from the strident and unceasing blare of trumpet, trombone, saxophone and drums. Mitchell is a relaxed artist with a clear pleasant voice. The audience was with him from the start, and he never let them get away. Mitchell brought the house down with “Singing the Blues” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” He ranged from rock and roll to the Burl Ives standby “Truly Fair,” and ended with an old fashioned blues number “T is for Texas.”
Carr tried, but lost. She is a cute blonde, but she is better on records. Stan
Keaton played many of his well known numbers but his soloists lacked
inspiration. Hampton’s style last night was different to that usually heard in
his records. He gave a drumming display which had the crowd roaring, but barely
touched the vibrophone. He rocked, rolled and banged a drum, and the Brisbane
“cats” screamed their welcome. They screamed so loud that the Big Show,
originally designed as a one night stand, will play two shows today at 6.00pm
My son is an apprentice in the RAAF, having passed the Junior Examination last year. He had his first leave last week and looked forward to attending a Friday night dance at his former school, the Salisbury State High School, and meeting his old school friends. When he arrived at the dance the principal said he would not be admitted because of his haircut. He told the principal it was a regulation hair cut, and he was ordered not to be cheeky. I am writing this to give the matter some publicity with a view to action being taken by the Education Department to prevent some other young servicemen being humiliated in the wat my son was.
[The Salisbury High School
principal, Nr. R. Mackie, comments: “The dances are school dances, not open to
the public, and we reserve the right not to admit anyone we don’t want. There
are certain types of haircut we don’t want at the school and therefore we don’t
want them at the dances.”]
Two hundred girls, from 7 to 17,
dressed in brilliant uniforms, gave Queensland’s first mass marching girl
display at Victoria Park yesterday. Seven of the 18 teams came from Brisbane;
others are from Stockton, New South Wales, Toowoomba, Lismore and Maryborough.
Guests of honour were the Hamilton City Silver junior team from New Zealand.
Marching girls had been introduced to New Zealand 12 years ago, derived from the
American drum majorette idea. Numbers of the Nundah Blue Stars, organised last
November, marched for different charities. They said that marching “felt good.
It was good exercise and good sport.” The girls said that they were fascinated
by the uniforms.
New York May 16 (AAP)- People streamed from the balconies and surged down the aisles to the platform at the Madison Square Garden meeting last night when Evangelist Billy Graham called for those who would “make decisions for Christ.” Dr. Graham said after the meeting, the first of a scheduled six week mission in New York: “It was the largest first night response I have ever seen from the pulpit. It was overwhelming. It was beyond anything I had anticipated. Prayer,” he said, “was responsible.”
About 18,500 passed Dr. Graham.
Many had lined up for hours for admission. One hundred police were stationed
outside the building, and 80 inside, but the meeting was orderly. The auditorium
was draped with flags and the platform from which Dr. Graham spoke was banked
with flowers. For his sermon, Dr. Graham took his text from Isaiah 1, 1-20 which
includes this passage:
“Ah sinful nation, a people
laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers children that are corrupters. They
have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger,
they are gone away backwards.”
Dr. Graham stabbed his finger at
the huge crowd as he said: “The times in which we live are parallel to the times
that Isaiah lived in.”
He’s Really Miserable
New York: Elvis Presley, the highest paid movie star in history, whose income skyrocketed from a few thousand to over a million dollars a year in 30 months, is sometimes “as lonely as hell.” He made this admission to the New York Herald Tribune’s Hollywood correspondent.
“A lot of times I feel
miserable, don’t know which way to turn,” he said, “I feel if I could go places
like everyone else, it would be OK. I never knew that there was so much money in
the world, that many places to go, or that many people to see. I’m not
complaining about the lack of privacy, although I miss it.” Elvis rejected the
idea that as a teenage idol he could be “a power for good.”
“I never thought of myself as a
symbol and still don’t, and never thought of using my power in such ways as
working for groups against juvenile delinquency,” he said. “I’ve just been
taking everything as it comes and making the best of it.”
New York: May 17 (AAP)- Dr.
Billy Graham told 18,000 people in Madison Square Garden last night that “New
York was crying for cleansing from its evil.” It was the second night of his
spiritual revival campaign. The audience was 5,500 fewer than on the first
“Jesus puts his finger on the
trouble in New York when he says that we are morally sick,” he said.
“I am appalled when I hear of
murders, the rapes, the assaults, and robberies that are taking place in this
city; nearly a million crimes committed here last year.”
But he said that what troubled
New York troubled the whole human race.
Police are watching a number of city and suburban dance halls and hamburger shops in their efforts to nip juvenile crime in the bud. CIB Chief Inspector Frank Bischof last night blamed these meeting places for juvenile crime.
said: “These meeting places are often the breeding grounds for crime.
Individually, the youths who gather there cannot make their mark; but
collectively they can gain notoriety. It is through many of these ‘darings’ that
crime is committed. We will continue moving youths who loiter in gangs.
Inspector Bischof said that several places other than the T and G Corner were recognised meeting places for bodgie type youths.
Tuesday counsel for a youth on a stealing charge told the Criminal Court that
youths who gathered at the T and G corner of Albert and Queen Streets, Brisbane,
had suggested to the accused that if he wanted money, he should try breaking and
night, a bodgie type youth, who boasted of the number of occasions that he has
been moved from the T and G corner, said “We like to gather at the corner
because it is central. You have four theatres at hand. I’ve been moved from the
corner many times by police, but I just go down the road, and when police leave,
I go back. They haven’t enough men in the police force to keep a man posted
Attaching bodgie- widgie type dress, Inspector Bischof said: “There is
nothing masculine about the way a bodgie type youth dresses. The colours and cut
of some clothes worn by them are more suitable for women.” He stamped as “too
provocative” the dress of widgie type Brisbane girls, and attacked parents for
their lack of control over bodgie and widgie types sons and daughters.
Courier Mail Saturday 25 June 1957
Billy Graham Battles with the
Young Man with a Bible packs Madison Square
New York: If
the ghost of old Billy Sunday is stalking Madison Square Garden these days he
must be learning a lot about latter day evangelism.
from the big arena are the gory pugilists, the grunting wrestlers, the circus
clowns, the ice hockey heroes, the hot dog vendors, and the screaming fans.
their place is one remarkable man, standing on a stage against a solid white
backdrop of a 1500 voice choir.
night since May 15, 1957, he has been packing about 17,000 people into the
Gardens. Nothing less than Ringling Brothers’ circus has been able to do
tall, broad shouldered athlete under the high spotlight is BILLY GRAHAM.
wasn’t the world’s best known evangelist, he would not seem out of place as a
high priced advertising model for anything from well cut clothes to toothpaste-
or perhaps in a movie role as a college football star.
isn’t selling suits or toothpaste, but religion. But Billy himself says that,
since he’s selling the greatest product in the world, why not give it at least
as much promotion as a bar of soap? And that’s what has happened.
The Billy Graham organisation has handled the New York invasion with all the high powered efficiency of a national sales promotion campaign. And it’s running with the smoothness of a well oiled railway system.
a far cry from the days of yesteryear, when evangelists thundering hell-fire and
damnation depended chiefly on lung power and rhetorical fireworks to convert the hordes of sinners.
40 years ago battling Billy Sunday stormed into New York. In a hastily erected
building on upper Broadway, the small, lithe man pranced and shouted, shadow
boxed, and wrestled o the floor with the Devil, and mesmerized his flock with
fishwifery dramatics. New Yorkers in general he described in one burst as “vile,
iniquitous, lowdown, groveling, worthless, damnable, rotten, hellish, corrupt,
all liquor sellers, he said, were “a weasel-eyed, butter-and-milk,
white-livered, whisky-soaked gang.”
country boy from the cornfields of the Mid-West was the idol and joke of a whole
had been a star in the Chicago White Stockings before he abruptly left baseball
to enlist his energies in God’s cause.
his meetings he always told the story of the country boy whose downward path
began at a “fancy undress ball” when he met a jezebel with “hair like a raven’s
wing, a neck like a swan, teeth like a ledge of pearl in a snowdrift, wearing
just enough clothing to pad a crutch, who, with difficulty, persuaded the young
man to take his first glass of champagne.”
Billy also introduced a good measure of jingoism. He would yank an American flag out of its holder, and whip it back and forth overhead, shouting, “We are enduring it now for the cause of justice. It has never flown for anything else.”
the entire audience of 20,000 would rise with a roar and launch into “The Battle
Hymn of the Republic” as Billy capered with joy at having won the first skirmish
in his “battle with the Devil” in New York.
there are no more Billy Sundays but the Devil is apparently still around these
current antagonist is doing battle but with greater weapon power.
Sunday used a cannon; Billy Graham uses push button warfare.
40 years some fierce eyed revivalist storms New York to brand it the citadel of
doesn’t happen more often because New York is a name that strikes fear and
trembles into all the most stout hearted evangelists.
call this city the “revivalist graveyard,” which isn’t as contradictory as it
a good missionary has floundered here. Evangelists steer away from its shores,
until they are at the peak of their careers.
Whether this is such a Devil ridden city is a debatable point; it has
been pointed out that New York has the highest percentage of church-goers of any
city in the United States.
Broadly two factors do most to keep the evangelists away.
one thing, it is hard to be heard over the hurly burly of all this city’s
another the population is 45 per cent Roman Catholic, and 25 per cent
Neither faith has any use for the mass evangelism these visitors
Catholics have been told by spokesmen of their church not to go to Billy
Graham’s meetings. Some of his preachings, it is said, are heretical.
have been told that the meetings have nothing of value for them.
Protestants, there is not complete unanimity about Mr. Graham. The critics
concentrate on the “emotional excesses and commercialism” of the Graham crusade,
and express doubts that many people would be permanently “saved.”
Billy Graham managed to win the cooperation of 1500 local ministers in this
points to an important feature of Graham crusades. He first makes sure that he
has a strong body of clergy behind him before he moves in.
churches are involved in an integral part of the Graham evangelical technique:
an elaborate follow up system.
converts who hit what Billy Sunday called “the sawdust trail to salvation” after
each meeting are handled by a small army of “counselors.”
converts fill in cards. The information is passed on to the appropriate churches
which are expected to follow up each convert.
the 300,000 people who had been to Graham’s meetings in the first two weeks,
about 12,000 stepped forward and “declared themselves for God.”
Ad. Men in Action
Mr. Graham’s preparations went a long way beyond the churches. His organisation used all the promotion techniques of Madison Avenue- hub of the advertising world- in the assault of his toughest proving ground.
same methods will be sued in Australia if Mr. Graham goes there- as he hopes to
year before the crusade began, his organisers set up office near Times Square
and started preparing the ground.
result. long before Billy himself arrived, New York was plastered with posters,
the crusade had time spots on radio and TV, convoys of buses- as well as planes
and trains- to bring adherents from every corner of the country had been
organised, the clergy had been organised, classes for about 5,000 “counsellors”
had been organised, the nightly roster of 1500 singers for the choir had been
organised, round-the-world all night prayers for the eve of the opening had been
organised, and funds were pouring in.
Plenty were needed. Cost of the campaign will run into over a million
dollars, plus extras, such as the televising of a recent Garden meeting, which
this was underwritten by Graham’s wealthy backers, of which he has many.
Texan has left his chain of supermarkets to help Graham in New York.
campaign committee includes men like newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst
Jnr., and Henry R. Luce, publisher of Time and Life.
presidents, heads of corporations and business houses are among the
the helpers take up the collection in the Garden, they pass around paper
buckets, which are promptly stuffed with dollar bills. But that isn’t enough to
take care of the Garden rent.
Graham himself gets nothing extra for coming to New York. His
organisation pays him a flat $17000 (about £8,800) a year which is not excessive
by local standards.
the credit side, the Graham crusade has received a spate of publicity
unprecedented here and immeasurable in terms of dollars.
Almost every local newspaper and national magazine has run feature
stories on Billy Graham.
other individual apart from his friend President Eisenhower has had such a
concentrated wealth of publicity.
has helped to make Billy Graham one of the best known men in the United
recent Gallup Poll showed that 90 per cent of the population could identify him,
an honour accorded few Americans, other than the nation’s chief executive in
than four million adults said that they had seen him in person. About 50 million
said they had seen him on TV or heard him on the radio.
the great pre-Crusade build up, there was not much for Billy Graham to do but
get up on stage and preach. He does just that.
has no use for the physical and vocal acrobatics of Billy Sunday. He is urgent
and articulate but not emotional as evangelists go.
miniature microphone in his lapel, he speaks with a smooth, driving
Occasionally he shakes his fists, shouts, or points heavenward and
hellward, but he keeps away from bygone histrionics.
the most misbegotten old sinner would not deny that he is one of the most
dynamic speakers ever to set foot on a stage.
soft pedal influence is seen throughout the meeting. Applause is banned. “If you
want to applaud, do it deep down inside you,” one of his aides tells the
congregation. “Treat this place like a cathedral.”
whole meeting runs with the precise efficiency of a TV “spectacular”. The timing
of the speeches, the organ music, the songs, and the silences, is superb.
seems that Billy Graham prefers to associate himself with the respected memory
of the 19th century evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, rather than that of
Billy Sunday, who was called by his official biographer “A Gymnast for
Graham technique is working the “Miracle of Madison Square Garden.” His
seemingly impossible six week run has just been extended to 21 July (1957) three
weeks beyond the original closing date. And his aides say that there is every
possibility that he will continue battling with the Devil at “the Garden” until
the end of summer.
Roaming gangs of bodgie vandals on Saturday, (13 July 1957) staged three
outbreaks of hooliganism on Brisbane suburban railways. In one incident at
Enoggera, they held up a train for 5 minutes after hurling stones and gravel at
crowded carriages. At Hemmant they overturned seats on the railway platform and
stopped a city bound passenger train by placing an empty 44 gallon oil drum on
engine smashed into the drum wrecking its braking system. A railway union
official said last night railwaymen were becoming concerned at the wave of
hooliganism and vandalism on suburban railways. He said that at Mitchelton on
the Central to Ferny Grove Line, a guard recently held up a train for 5 minutes
as a show of strength against a number of bodgie passengers who had refused to
Queensland Railway Guards, Shunters and Conductors Association Secretary (Mr. W.
V. Furness) said that his Association had already reported instances of bodgie
trouble to the Commissioner. He said bodgies often prevented guards from doing
their duty by boarding trains without tickets and refusing to pay fares.
The Police Union Secretary (Mr. C. Behm) said that Brisbane’s bodgie problem was of growing concern to the Union. Police were refusing to do special duty at dance halls frequented by bodgies, unless two constables were assigned to the job.
The Enoggera disturbance occurred just before midnight on Saturday last, 13 July 1957, as a train was pulling out of the station on its way to Ferny Grove. A railway officer at Enoggera said that a gang of about 30 bodgie youths had got out of the train when it stopped at the station and then swarmed across the lines hurling stones and gravel at the train as it moved on. Stones rattled against the rear carriage and guard’s van.
railway officer said that the guard on the train became concerned and pulled his
emergency brake as the train moved across the Wardell Street level
Bodgies were reported to have milled around the railway officials as they tried to quell the disturbance.
The Enoggera railway officer
said: “ I have never seen such a mob before. Some of them were shouting; one or
two of them were abusive. I couldn’t grab them or hold them; there were too many
The officer said that the
bodgies made off when he told them he was going to call the police. He has since
reported the incident to railway authorities.
Woolloongabba police are
investigating the Hemmant railway incident which occurred at 11.29pm last
Saturday 13 July 1957. Police said that a city bound passenger train was stopped
when it smashed into the oil drum on the line. The train was held up while a
replacement engine was brought from Manly. Police found that seats on Hemmant
platform had been overturned.
[Some days later police withdrew
the attribution of the Hemmant incidents to bodgies and attributed the incidents
to a person since deceased in a motor vehicle accident]
Courier Mail 15 July 1957
Grovely Breeds Bodgies- Nothing Else to do
The writer of the article “I carry a blackjack” (Sunday Mail 14 July 1957) certainly paints a dismal picture of affairs on the Central to Ferny Grove railway line. His description of what goes on is all too true. These things occur, but only in parts of the train by isolated groups. Most of the bodgies to which he refers live at Grovely. Regrettably this is no accident. Geographically Grovely is an ideal suburb, with new houses in a new area, right on the edge of the city, and bordered by bush, but Grovely itself is completely without life after dark. There are absolutely no entertainments and it is this lack of anything to do that has caused the inherent liveliness of young people to find interest and excitement in other less tasteful ways.
district is in dire need of playing areas for football, cricket, tennis, and
swimming, a picture theatre, and up to date library. Some of the blame for this
rests with the Brisbane City Council for not making available that area
alongside Kedron Brook for a recreation area when requested to do so by the
local Progress Association on several occasions.
Prevention of future bodgie-ism could be attained by the introduction of
sporting clubs and youth organisations, arranged by the Churches, Police
Citizens, YMCA, Boy Scouts and similar movements.
For older youths, the intense interest in motor cycles in the district point to the introduction of a branch of a motor cycle club. A bush walking organisation would also find strong support.
necessary to give youth something to do to keep them off the streets, out of
milk bars and hamburger joints where bodgie-ism begins.
playing “chicken” on isolated roads and endangering the lives of passing motorists;
mauling teenage girls;
pelting trams and buses with tomatoes;
holding drink and sex orgies.
Police say that the teenage hoodlums are fast becoming Sydney’s No 1
headache. Bodgie packs are terrorizing young children playing in city parks.
This week the pack threw a seven year old girl into Sydney Harbour. A passer by
dived in fully clothed and rescued her. One bodgie gang recently stole 12 cars
and trucks. Their leader was jailed for three years.
Melbourne: A special police bicycle patrol operating at night had cut down sharply the bodgie widgie menace in Melbourne, the Victorian Chief Secretary (Mr. Rylah) said last night. Mr. Rylah said that it was also proposed to increase the number of police on normal night beat work to keep bodgies in check. Police on bicycles regularly visited known bodgie haunts and warned youths about their behaviour.
Courier Mail Tuesday 16 July 1957
Hoodlums on Trains
A general election (Labour Premier Vince Gair had just lost Government consequent upon the split of labour into the QLP and ALP) is no excuse for letting packs of teenage hoodlums run riot on Brisbane’s suburban railways or anywhere else.
Ministers may be too busy electioneering to attend to the duties of their office. Over the weekend no one seemed to know which Minister was carrying responsibility for the States’ police administration, not even the Minister who normally has that charge. But the Police Commissioner has, or should have, sufficient authority and initiative to deal with “bodgies” who attack railway property and terrorise railway employees and unoffending passengers. He should not have to wait for direction and instructions from the Minister. What happened last weekend on the Ferny Grove line to Brisbane repeated on a bigger scale hooliganism that has gone unchecked for many weeks. The public wants an answer to these questions. What action has been taken by police to supply this obvious need. A few vigilant plain clothes police put on trains mostly used by suburban hoodlums for making their weekend excursions to and from the city would soon be able to break up their gangs by making quick arrests for disorderly conduct or refusing to pay fares. More police might be rostered for night duty at the weekends. The cost of better police protection must be paid if the cult of “bodgie” lawlessness is to be stamped out before it leads to more serious crime. Organisations interested in the welfare of youths can help. Many young people would not crowd into the city every weekend looking for entertainment if life in their own suburbs offered them more interests and entertainment where they have no playing fields or social clubs they are tempted to form themselves into gangs or pushes. But those are not reasons for treating them leniently when they take to violence and vandalism.
“I faced bodgie pack on
Two months ago on the 7.5pm Ferny Grove City train, two youths, after much lurid language, punched a boy until he bled. I intervened when a third member of the pack was about to punch the boy. The hoodlums resented my “interference,” adopted a menacing attitude, threatened me, and invited me to meet them on the last carriage. Apparently he was afraid to report the attack. This fear is apparently the reason why these “packs” can continue so successfully. When my son was recently attacked by a different pack he was warned against notifying the police. Grovely is a new suburb and populated by many decent law abiding citizens and their families. Since it has been developed by the State Housing Commission, it has a big youth problem. I consider a youth centre an absolute must. Teenage boys and girls congregate in their leisure hours around hamburger “joints” or cafes at night. At weekends they gather around the outskirts of the suburb or creek banks, or play “chicken” on the main Samford Road with passing motorists. Most of their actions appear to be done to relieve boredom. Their clothes and general behaviour are a form of exhibitionism, possibly resulting from inadequate home training. Any money or effort spent in building and maintaining a youth centre would pay dividends in building decent citizens.
34 Pearse Street,
[In the Criminal Court last
Wednesday Mr. Justice Philp sentenced Brian Denis Anderson, 17, of Hogan Street,
Grovely to a year’s hard labour for assaulting James Richard Malcolm, 18,
student, of Pearse Street, Grovely, on a train on June 7, 1957, causing him
bodily harm. Ed.]
action is called for to deal with the bodgie cult. If numerically, the Police
Force is inadequate to undertake the task, or its personnel are prevented by
higher authority, or are afraid to attempt to remove this scum from our midst,
then it is time that the power to handle the situation was delegated to people
to do the policeman’s job for him. Give me a dozen men with similar views to
those I hold on the subject, give us the sanction of the law, and I am prepared
to start a crusade that will put the fear of God into any party of louts we find
disturbing the peace. In one month, with or without blackjacks, we would have
the dingo packs broken up completely. Doubts were expressed in the Press
recently on being able to find one man in Brisbane willing to take on the
position of Public Whipper to cope with the menace. I am prepared to act in this
capacity in full view of the public, without charge, and with all the physical
force that I can muster.
55 McIlwraith Avenue,
of Brisbane aggress with the views expressed by Grovely Resident (Courier Mail
16 July 1957) on bodgie-ism.
YMCA is willing to form a youth club in the Grovely area but additional leaders
and finance will be required.
hope to meet the shortage of youth leaders both in our own and other youth
organisations as a result of the Basic Youth Leadership classes to be held at
the YMCA, but public financial support will be required.
Association receives no Government grant. A youth club will need a hall and
equipment, and possibly a part time Secretary. Should the residents of Grovely
and adjoining districts be interested in forming such a club we should be happy
to depute a representative of our organisation to meet and help them.
Public Relations Officer,
Young Men’s Christian
By our Police Reporter
Railway Department and Police yesterday promised early action to stamp out a
wave of bodgie larrikinism on Brisbane suburban trains. Special detectives and
railway inspectors will travel on the trains at night. But further details of
the “anti-bodgie” plans are being kept secret. Police and railway inspectors
will probably concentrate on trains leaving the city after hotels close at 10pm
and after the last theatre session. A special watch will be kept during nights
when there have been jazz concerts or performances by visiting American
entertainers. Senior police last night said it would be impossible for
plainclothes men to travel on every suburban train at night. They said that
delinquents had to be caught making a disturbance before action could be taken.
But many bodgie leaders made it their business to know detectives by sight and
behaved perfectly if they suspected that a policeman was on the train. The
Police Commissioner (Mr. Harold) said yesterday that a special campaign was
being planned to deal with travelling hooligans. Criminal Investigation Branch
chief (Mr. F. E. Bischof) said recent reports of hooliganism among youths on
suburban trains were receiving close attention. Detectives recently had
travelled on night trains to Ferny Grove and other routes. Other detectives in
recent months had ridden on bus routes to two bayside resorts following
complaints of wild behaviour by travelling youths.
Courier Mail Thursday 18 July
Letters to the Editor
“Police Stockwhip tamed
as been written and said lately of the bodgie element in our midst. I would like
to add my voice to the many who have been raising their voices when they should
have been raising their hands and lowering them swiftly where it would have done
the most good. During and after the Depression I was a member of a larrikin
push. At night my parents being under the impression I was at a friends place;
we used to congregate at street corners and talk, and for a diversion, invade
the domain of another push and clean them up. A certain policeman was posted to
our district. From that day forward, we became a bunch of neurotics. Mounted on
a horse and armed with a stockwhip, he ranged far and wide using boot and whip
to such an extent that the sound of the horses’ hooves was sufficient to cause
the whole bunch of us to take off like a flock of pigeons. There’s your answer
to the bodgies of today. We were pretty tough, and not an effeminate bunch of
half-men like today’s bodgies, and yet we were tamed and brought to heel. Foot
and mounted policeman on one push bike with orders to use the toe of the boot on
their backside, and see how the problem is solved.
“Ex Nineteen Thirty
Courier Mail Thursday 18 July
Granted that a serious situation does exist in this matter of juvenile
delinquency, for which the “Bodgie Cult” seems to bear the brunt of the blame,
surely any sane approach to the problem must be made without violence, and with
some attempt at understanding these people. L. R. Munro (Courier Mail 17 July
1957) and others like him want to combat violence with more violence. What about
going to those people on their own ground, speaking their language, and
listening to them for a change? Mr. Munro’s way can only lead to bloodshed.
R. J. Humphries,
Courier Mail Thursday 18 July
Splendid, Mr. Munro (Courier Mail 17 July 1957). Give whipping an undisciplined trial for six months.
Courier Mail Thursday 18 July
Hazel Smith (Courier Mail 12 July 1957) says that crime is a disease. That is true only where a person is mentally sick. Is the mass murder that we call war a disease too? Talk about using the lash on juvenile delinquents is nauseating, especially when there are crime films, crime comics, and radio sessions whose themes are based on murder, and the rest of the vile rubbish. More playing fields and youth clubs are needed.
160 Wharf Street,
Courier Mail Thursday 18 July
Letters to the Editor
have been plagued with “annoyance” telephone calls, late at night, and
especially weekends. If the receiver is taken up, the howler would be put
through immediately. We now have a new “annoyance.” A “chicken” horn blown at
our gate by four louts and a Chinese boy. On investigating they ride away
screaming out insults and “chicken.”
Article- Noel Turnbull- Staff
Are youth clubs the answer
to the bodgie menace? Their organisers think so. These clubs are doing a good
job in some Brisbane suburbs, but in many districts like Grovely, the community
spirit has not been strong enough to produce them yet. So what are they doing in
Scattered around Brisbane small groups of public spirited men are
accepting the challenge of the bodgie cult- to turn the energy and enthusiasm of
youth into worthwhile channels. They are fighting at its source the menace that
is turning decent lads into vandals and hooligans. They are the men behind the
suburban youth clubs that have sprung up, particularly in the last six
Through these clubs they are giving boys, and, in the larger clubs, girls
too, an active interest, which keeps them off the streets- the danger zone.
clubs have actually recruited members from among bodgies in milk bars and on the
streets. The need for these clubs is emphasized by the large number of
youngsters seeking membership of the Young Men’s Christian Association and the
Police Citizens’ Youth Clubs at Lang Park and Woolloongabba. All have waiting
lists. Some clubs are small- not because young people are standoffish but
because the organisers are short of adult support. The club’s big needs are
money and leaders. Public support would provide both.
the Zillmere Athletic and Boxing Club, an example of a keen young club with
little finance, but enthusiastic supporters. Officially it began about 3 months
ago. Before that the organiser, 39 year old wood machinist Tommy Smith, had been
coaching a few boys at boxing in the kitchen of his home. When the number got to
about 18, Tommy says that his wife put a stop to it in the house, so the club
was formed. All the initial equipment was bought by Tommy himself and now the
boys’ fathers are building a small gymnasium in Tommy’s backyard. The number of
members has grown to about 40 and they meet five nights a week in the backyard
is really proud of his boys. One of them, 18 year old German lad, Roland
Herburg, has been selected in a Brisbane team to attend a boxing tournament in
Mackay next month.
Wynnum, Rotary, Lions, and Apex Clubs have taken up the matter of a youth club
and have organised functions to provide finance. They have close to £700 now. A
Wynnum accountant, Mr. J. W. McMaster, says that the committee at present
organising the club hopes to build a club house, open at all times to the boys
of the district.
at Brookfield, a solid little club is slowly getting under way. It was started
by Mr. J. Birkett in February after another he had formed at Indooroopilly
failed. It now has about 50 members and meets three nights a week.
Chermside Club started by Valley policeman Les Sampson, has 400 members.
It began 18 months ago as a football team. The club has more than £200 worth of
equipment, but as yet no headquarters. It is trying to obtain a lease of Annand
Park from the Brisbane City Council to build a club and other facilities.
Youngest club, Bardon, just four weeks old already has 140 members. It
was formed by the Bardon RSL and meets two nights a week in the Memorial Hall.
President Ian Mathams says that the club has a policy that all groups will be
mixed. They consider that having groups for boys and others fro girls makes
teenagers lose interest.
The 40 members of the Kedron Boys’ Boxing Club have a proud record- of 300 fights the boys have had at tournaments, they have won 175. The club was formed in a garage 18 months ago. It now has a gym of its own. A former club member Don Starr was a State amateur title holder.
The two most progressive clubs in Brisbane are at Inala and Nundah, both formerly notorious bodgie hangouts. In 2 years the Inala Club has grown from 17 members at its initial meeting to more than 600 now. It began at a time when Inala’s youngsters had a bad name for vandalism. The club now has both boys and girls as members. Its activities cover all manner of sport and drama and discussion groups. The club plans a special club hall costing about £15000 to £20,000. It will contain modern gymnastic equipment, an up to date library, swimming pool, and playing room.
Nundah Club is the largest and oldest of all. It has branches at Hendra, Kedron,
Banyo, and Northgate, as well as the original club at Nundah. All told there are
about 1900 on the membership roll. It was started about 10 years ago by Norm
Yuill, a totally and permanently incapacitated ex-serviceman as a hobby to fill
in time. Norm was seriously injured during the war in Dutch New Guinea. He has
been steadily building up the club and its many branches. He is now working on a
plan to open at Stafford. He also plans to get a club moving at Sandgate. Each
branch has several individual clubs, for different age groups and activities,
which meet on different nights of the week.
Letters to the Editor
“Scouts, Churches battle at
Letters stressing Grovely’s lack of facilities for its youth have omitted to mention what has and is being done by the Boy Scouts Association and church bodies. Commissioner Jackson last Saturday week opened a hut in Baker Road. This was the result of three years hard effort by a numerically small but keen committee, aided by city and local business firms, but with negligible cooperation from the boys’ parents. Two Sunday Schools have been held now for several years in private homes or in the open air, while the sponsors are struggling to build churches. The Progress Association has been balked for years because out of all the nearby vacant ground not a single acre could be taken over by it. The Housing Commission in a rather hypocritical statement said that owing to the acute shortage of building materials a few years ago, none could be spared for halls and such like, and it would be the responsibility of residents to erect them. Such logic at the time was accepted but when bodies I have mentioned above applied for land to build their own hall or church none was available. Since then rubbish dumps are appearing where public buildings could have been and Grovely youth are reaping a harvest of scorn and ridicule.
N. A. F. Pitman,
15 Booker Street,
Brisbane’s 800 metropolitan police were told this week to wipe out all forms of bodgie lawbreaking.
Police officers consider that district police, not roving patrols, are
best capable of checking the bodgie cult at its source. The force will use “no
quarter” tactics if necessary. Metropolitan police, knowing their own district,
will be able to check out bodgies most closely. This week they began meeting
late night trains at suburban stations and terminuses. They will be ready to
pounce following any reports of lawlessness on trains. Bodgie “hangouts”
hamburger stalls, cafes, dance halls, and street corners, will receive special
and regular attention.
It’s Our Fault
Bodgies and their ways have been in the news all this week. Some of them are public nuisances, using violence and drifting into crime. But the fault is primarily the whole community’s. We have failed to give them something better to do, and the means to do it.
£5 fine on bodgie
Toowoomba: “You are one of a bunch of half baked bodgie exhibitionists,” Mr. D. J. Kearney, SM., told Stewart Jeffries, 18, of Lydwin Street, in the Petty Sessions Court in Toowoomba yesterday. “If you characters think that you are going to take control of Ruthven Street on Sunday afternoons, you are badly mistaken. We have cleaned up bigger gangs than yours in the past and the police will have no trouble in dealing with you,” he said. Mr. Kearney fined Jeffries £5, in default 28 days jail, on a charge of having driven a motor cycle with a pillion rider while not being the holder of a licence for one year.
Letters to the Editor
Soldier at 16 asks why baby
Juvenile outlawry emanates from the school playground. The smashing of school furniture lately seems to have been copied from films depicting jail rioting. To call bodgies and car wreckers, who may be 16, 17, or 18 years of age, “juvenile” seems absurd to me. I enlisted as a British soldier at 16, and was doing Buckingham Palace and Tower guard duty at 17. Offending bodgies should be given stiff terms at a special place of correction. There should also be special plain clothes police to deal with the rowdy element. On a recent journey from South Brisbane to Kuraby, I took large lumps of coal from a rough gang of schoolboys who were sadistically enjoying throwing them at the track maintenance men they passed.
Frank H. Cole,
73 Tramore Street,
Brisbane adults are partly to
blame for the behaviour of the bodgie element. There is a lack of sports areas,
and youth organisations and the adults have been disinterested in the welfare of
the younger people. Since the war unscrupulous people have found it profitable
to exploit teenagers. It is the public that allows the importation and
publication of cheap, shocking films, over suggestive songs, trashy comics, and
obscene magazines. Film and censorship boards are farcical. Look at any magazine
stand. Go to any cinema with an adults only programme. Most bodgies and widgies
are by the standards of many countries uneducated. It takes more than parental
control and organised sport to make intelligent and discerning beings. Our
antiquated educational system is at the root of many a trouble. There are not
enough schools and interested teachers. Education should be entirely free and
compulsory until 16 at least.
“Bring in Police”
Our very efficient police force is hopelessly inadequate to combat successfully the ever-growing bodgie menace. It is obvious that the police cannot hope to attract enough recruits locally, so why not establish a migration scheme to bring to Queensland at least 1000 young men from the United Kingdom and Ireland to bolster our force.
I am a Briton, born and bred in Egypt. When I came here 10 years ago, I was shocked to see how children are spoiled in this country. Toys are waiting for them before they are born, and as they grow older, they have all kinds of sports, swimming pools, bicycles, lollies, icecreams, cinemas.
they expect their parents to buy them a motor scooter or a motor cycle, at 16 or
18 a car etc. When they reach their teens they are already blasé. They turn to
sadism, crime and sex orgies. I do not approve of Hitlerism or fascism, but they
had one good thing in wiping out teenage delinquency – the army which employed
recruits on public works. Jails, reform schools, whipping, will leave a stigma
for delinquents, entertainments will make them worse. Hard work is the only
Mrs. A. Vaughan,
46 Oxley Drive,
There is obviously a close relation between the cult of jive (or rock ‘n’ roll) and the present wave of juvenile delinquency. In watching the rockers, one is struck by the stark primitive savagery of the devotees mesmerized by erotic rhythm.
solution is in the eradication of the cult by the whole of the civilized
community. Parents should reason with the juveniles; if that is ineffective,
they should attck the savage mystic force with a weighty belt. Let boys and
girls dance by all means. I would appeal to dance promoters and band leaders:
Leave out the “deep down beat-up stuff” that ruffles the emotions of the kids;
give them the clean happy four to the bar. A happy kid is a good kid.
A teenage bodgie who police said had worked only three days this year, was jailed yesterday for six weeks with hard labour. Mr. Fowler, SM, told Trevor William Bostock, 17, unemployed, that this jail sentence might help him mend his ways. Bostock, who pleaded guilty in the Police Court to a vagrancy charge- having insufficient lawful means of support- had told Mr. Fowler that he would like to settle down with his parents.
magistrate told him that police had given him many opportunities. It was too
late now. It was the first case of a “bodgie” being jailed for vagrancy since
the all out police drive on them began. Detective Sub Inspector Donovan
(prosecutor) said that Bostock first came under the notice of the Criminal
Investigation Branch a year ago because of his association with the “bodgie”
element about city streets.
Detectives had warned him to get a job and cease spending his time in
11.30am on Monday, Detective Sergeant F. D. Gorman and Detective J. J. O’Connor
located him in a city hotel drinking with others unfavourably known to the
police. Their inquiries showed that he had worked only three days this year. He
had been existing on handouts from his widowed mother and married sister. His
mother had to get casual work to supplement her widow’s pension. The prosecutor
said that Bostock’s mother was unable to persuade him to get a job and he seemed
content to live a life of idleness with his “bodgie” associates. Bostock’s
mother wept in court when her son was taken to the Watchhouse cells to await the
prison van to take him to Boggo Road jail.
Bullen’s Circus will pen in
Musgrave Park on 1 August 1957.
The Lord Mayor, Alderman Groom, in a bid to outwit bodgie lawlessness, proposes a big public meeting in the City Hall, and suburban meetings to promote interest in youth movements.
meetings are expected to result from the special meeting he has called for
tonight in the City Hall of organisations interested in youth. He believes that
juvenile delinquency can be curbed by strong public backing of youth clubs and
want to create for youth an atmosphere in which the bodgie will not flourish,”
Alderman Groom said yesterday. He has the backing of the police. Response to his
invitations to tonight’s meeting has been enthusiastic. Alderman Groom said yes
his aim in calling the meeting was to discuss how to increase public interest in
youth work. The Police Commissioner (Mr. Harold) and the Chief of the Brisbane
Criminal Investigation Branch (Inspector Bischof) will attend. Organisations
represented would include church youth organisations, Police and Citizens’
Welfare Association, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian
Association, Boy Scouts Association, Girl Guides Association, Playground
Association, National Fitness Council, and Rotary and Apex Clubs.
Alderman Groom said that tonight’s meeting would consider holding a big
public meeting in the City Hall concert hall of parents and others interested in
the welfare of youth. This would emphasise to the public the importance of
satisfactory youth clubs, well equipped in leadership, space and materials. In
these clubs there would be no lack of worthwhile activity to keep a youth
occupied. Alderman Groom said that it was likely that the big meeting would be
followed by others in suburbs where the need for greater support for youth clubs
work was realised.
Meanwhile Brisbane police claim that their “get tough” policy with
bodgies is showing results.
Criminal Investigation Branch Chief (Inspector Frank Bischof) said
yesterday that several known bodgies had called on him to tell him that they had
broken their association with the bodgie cult. Inspector Bischof said that the
change of heart was mainly due to police action and the recent jail sentences
imposed on bodgies and their associates in Brisbane courts.
bodgies and a girl, who was said to have associated with bodgies, have received
jail sentences in the last fortnight in Brisbane.
bodgie who attacked a schoolboy on a Brisbane train was sent to jail for a year and another received a
six weeks sentence because he refused to work.
Yesterday an 18 year old girl was sentenced to six weeks jail for
vagrancy. Police said that she was associating with bodgies when she was
Inspector Bischof said that there had been a noticeable reduction in the
number of bodgies congregating on street corners and in milk bars in
Groom’s Meeting Plans Ahead to
meet Youth Problem
public meeting of parents and others interested in the development and
improvement of youth welfare organisations in Brisbane will be held at the City
Hall on Monday the 5th August 1957.
was decided at a meeting of representatives of youth organisations called by the
Lord Mayor (Alderman Groom) last night.
Alderman Groom had called the meeting because of the growing bodgie
menace in Brisbane. The meeting elected a committee of seven to organise the
leaders, including an internationally known athlete, will speak on youth
activities and their importance.
Alderman Groom said last night:
“The meeting will emphasize the need for leadership in youth activity, the need
for good men and women trained for their job. The job of youth clubs is not
merely to eliminate bodgie-ism, but to ensure that the greater number of our
youth has the chance to become good citizens.
Mail Monday 29 July 1957
Street corner and milk bar congregations of Brisbane bodgies and widgies are disappearing. The Police Commissioner (Mr. T. W. Harold) said last night that this was “the dividend of a firm but fatherly approach by police to Brisbane’s bodgies.”
“Police went up to these young
people, gave them a talking to, and in most cases received cooperation,” Mr.
The police blitz on bodgies
began 10 days ago following a flood of public complaints about bodgie
Mr. Harold said last night that
policemen had not taken any drastic action and made only two arrests- both for
failure to observe a reasonable police direction in regard to pedestrian
traffic. He said that police had been instructed to adopt the role of “firm
“I am quite satisfied now that
having taken that line of action, no one will be worried by bodgies for a long
time,” Mr. Harold said. “We were caught unawares but we have the matter in hand
Mr. Harold said that police
would continue their vigilance. Mr. Harold said that during the blitz, uniformed
police had made frequent checks on hotel bars and had virtually rid the city of
teenage drinking. Train larrikinism had also been virtually stamped out.
Mail Tuesday 30 July 1957
Policeman’s Act Shock
I was greatly shocked to read (Courier Mail 27July 1957) that one of the contestants in the Yul Brynner competition was a Roma Street police constable. This is a type of exhibitionism and almost a degrading experience. It is not to be expected from a member of the police force who surely should set some standard of decorum and behaviour to our youth.
Bodgies and bodgie-ism is, in
great part, exhibitionism in clothing, and hair styles, and behaviour, and I am
sure that a policeman with a “shaved” head (for the reward of £10 and a razor)
would not command much respect. We parents and sane citizens expect the Police
Chiefs to instruct young constables not to take part in such displays of
foolishness, and this does not mean that they are disciplinarians without a
sense of humour.
“Dances as a Help”
“Blame Rock” (Courier Mail 24 July 1957) gives one of the reasons which force young people to frequent cafes and milk bars. If young people can’t jive or dance, as they please, under suitable supervision, in halls, at school and church dances, then where are they to go? They go to cafes and milk bars where they can hear the music they like from juke boxes. Perhaps it wasn’t so long ago that many of the self styled judges of teenage behaviour used to Charleston and “go to town” themselves. If elder people listened to modern music with an ear to pleasure rather than criticism, they might find that all this “stark primitive savagery” is rather over-exaggerated.
Peter L. Harton,
By our Police Roundsman
“Report back with your hair cut and dressed respectably” is the latest police move in civilising Brisbane’s bodgies.
past weeks, several bodgies detained by police have been given 24 hours to
become respectable. Last week, a group of bodgies- all under 21- were detained
and questioned by police after they created a disturbance in a suburban hotel.
Their names and addresses were taken. They were given 24 hours to have their
hair cut and dress decently. Next day they reported back to the police station
with hair cuts and decent clothes.
Police, both uniformed and plain clothes, are continuing their drive in
city and suburban hotels cleaning out teenage drinkers. The drive is proving
on the Beaches”
With the approach of warmer weather, Sandgate and Shorncliffe can expect to suffer from the influx of bodgies , widgies, and hooligans, who will again clutter our beaches. In the past, regular police patrols have kept this menace under control, but apparently have now been discontinued. The gathering clans of youths around picture shows and the beach fronts and the increase in vandalism and destruction of trees, testify to their appreciation of relaxed police action. Sandgate, more than any other Brisbane suburb, needs police patrols because its beaches and wooded foreshores attract others as well as its own lawless elements.
A public meeting in the City Hall tonight would consider just how serious the bodgie trouble was in Brisbane, the Lord Mayor Alderman Groom, said last night. The meeting, which begins at 8pm, was called by a committee of youth leaders headed by Alderman Groom.
Alderman Groom said that the youngsters concerned were not a vicious and
depraved section of the community that could be cured only with a stock whip.
There may be a few among them like that, but the police can be relied upon to
deal with them,” he said. “We are concerned about the ones who are leaving
school to find that they have a great deal of leisure and no idea what to do
The question of delinquent youth in Brisbane was not as serious as might have been thought, the Lord Mayor (Alderman Groom) said last night. But there was a grave need for steps to be taken to ensure that it did not become a serious matter, he said.
Alderman Groom was addressing a meeting which he convened in the City
Hall to discuss means of combating juvenile delinquency. More than 600 people
attended the meeting. Alderman Groom said that there had been “some
semi-hysterical” discussion about the need for stock whips and the resurrection
of the stocks. “It is obvious to a great many people that this is a rather
foolish summation of the situation,” he said. “Really I think that the youth of
this city are a bit of an improvement on what our parents were at the time I was
a youth. But we have deprived the youth of today of the things we had- the open
paddocks, the creeks, the flat open patches of land where we could play cricket,
or football. This problem cannot be tackled in wishy washy fashion. It is the
job for the families.”
Broadbeach: Segregation of bodgies and widgies in theatres was urged yesterday at the Queensland Motion Pictures Exhibitors Convention. Suggestions to stop larrikinism in theatres were advanced by Cairns delegate, Mr. W. Moloney. “In Cairns and other North Queensland towns, we have practically stamped out in theatres unruly behaviour by the bodgies and widgie elements,” he said. “We have found that the best plan is to segregate them- not put them in stalls in a group, but close to an exit and under the eye of a door keeper. And the effective way to break up gangs is to ban some of the ringleaders for short periods. Since we did this, there has been a marked improvement in their behaviour.”
Would Help Stamp Out Bodgies”
More swimming pools, playing fields, and cultural facilities would go a long way towards controlling the bodgie menace, the Commonwealth Health Director in Queensland (Dr. D. A. Dowling) said yesterday.
have to ensure that young people are given plenty to occupy their minds,” he
Dowling was addressing the Health Inspectors Association Conference on the value
of physical education.
`”These bodgies are nothing new,” he said. “We had the larrikin pushes 50
or more years ago. Activities of these present day youths are very similar.
Apart from police action there was probably nothing much that could be done with
those in whom ‘bodgie-ism’ had become established. However, there was a great
field open for preventative measures in the way of outdoor exercise for
Dowling said that swimming pools throughout the State particularly in Brisbane,
were grossly inadequate. “Brisbane had not had a new pool for 30 years.”
“I Did Not
Hear a Solution
Last night I attended the public meeting in the City Hall on the juvenile delinquency problem in Brisbane.
Despite many suggestions by the seven speakers, I did not hear one
concrete proposal given by any speaker that would make me wish to join a youth
organisation. I gained three main impressions from last nights meeting:
That finances for all youth organisations were in a sorry state;
That youth organisations had a grave shortage of leaders;
That parents were not supporting the existing youth organisations as they
should be doing.
The problem of actually
attracting me as a teenager to such organisations therefore was very great. I
now realise that if I did become a member of some club, I would spend a lot of
my leisure time working hard to keep the club running, I also realised that even
with all the leaders available in Brisbane, I would not necessarily keep “on the
rails”. Lastly if my parents were not interested enough to support my club, then
I may as well get out of it. This last problem was given a great deal of
attention by most speakers.
Mail Monday 5 August 1957
Lady Cilento, prominent Queensland doctor and social worker, has warned that one cause of today’s juvenile delinquency was the prevalence of working mothers.
Mail Friday 9 August 1957
Weapons of bodgies on show at the Police Display at the RNA Show this year, confiscated from Brisbane bodgies, are among exhibits of articles recovered by police at the scenes of notorious Queensland crimes. The bodgies weapons on display include a spring loaded knife and home made stilettos and knuckle dusters.
Mail Wednesday 14 August 1957
Held Sales of Goods They Stole
Bodgies from Chermside had been stealing clothing in city and suburban stores and holding “bargain sales” among themselves, the Police Court was told yesterday. They had stolen clothes and “swapped” them for motor cycle parts, the Court was told. Six youths, described as “members of the Chermside bodgie element,” pleaded guilty to charges of stealing, or of receiving stolen good.
Sub Inspector Donovan said:
“Police have established that the larrikin element at Chermside had been
stealing from the Chermside DriveIn and from city stores and then holding
bargain sales at Chermside and selling the goods to each other. One bodgie had
not worked for several months and had been living on money given to him by his
widowed mother and by widgies with whom he associated.
Poultrymen said yesterday that bodgies were endangering prize poultry exhibits at the Brisbane RNA Show.
Attendants in the poultry section have declared war on the bodgies.
Yesterday they took up positions at vantage points in the Poultry Pavilion to
watch for bodgies.
followed raids by bodgies on cages occupied by some prize poultry exhibits.
said that bodgies had opened the cages and taken out newly laid eggs, and
have given us a lot of trouble with only a few hundred people here,” one
attendant said, “so tomorrow (People’s Day) they will be here in droves. We’ll
need a couple of policemen.”
He said that four bodgies were caught stealing eggs from the cages on Monday. Attendants were on the alert yesterday and trapped others. The attendants said that when they caught bodgies with eggs in their pockets, they slapped their pockets or bumped them “to teach them a lesson.”
bodgie caught with his hand in a cage yesterday was “run out” of the Poultry
Attendants were placed at the entrance to the Poultry Pavilion all day
and also mixed with the crowds inside. They screened all visitors and “trailed”
all youths dressed in bodgie clothes.
Needs of Bodgies
An Anglican Church committee has criticized as “inadequate” some of the solutions being offered to meet Brisbane’s bodgie problem. Their report said that playing fields and youth clubs are good, but by themselves they cannot meet the real need. At bottom the problem is a spiritual and moral one, and often goes back to the lack of positive religion in the home.
The report said that a sharp distinction had to be drawn between “really
criminal bodgies and the much larger number of young people who imitate the
bodgie style of dress, but who in no sense are to be regarded as criminal.”
report called on church people to come forward to provide the right sort of
leadership for church youth organisations. It agreed that the lack of effective
Christian leadership was hindering youth organisations from doing really
At the Regent in town, James
Dean was starring in “Rebel Without a Cause”
Clubs “not full answer” to bodgies
clubs were not the complete answer to the bodgie and widgie problem, a British
Youth Welfare Worker claimed in Brisbane last night.
is Miss Elisabeth Garling, who is near the end of a 12 months bursary funded
study tour of Australian Youth Organisations.
Garling said that she did not think that youth clubs could help the “really bad
members of the cult.”
are a much greater social and psychological problem than that. But with many
bodgies and widgies it was merely a matter of ‘sharp dressing.’ Well organised
Youth clubs could assist by providing them with an outlet for recreational
Police on Bodgie Patrol
Traffic police were doing plain clothes patrol duty in main city streets to clean up bodgie motor cyclists, the Police Prosecutor told the Traffic Court yesterday. They were clamping down on bodgies on a “technicality,” failure to park their motor cycles parallel to the kerb.
youths described as “bodgie” were each fined £3 in default seven days jail for
wrongly parking their motor cycles.
Senior Sergeant Spada said that plain clothes traffic police patrolled Queen Street because of the youth’s behaviour. He said that the youths went around “like a pack of dingoes” and rode up and down the street making a nuisance of themselves. They parked their motor cycles “just anyhow.”
A 14 year old Sydney school who eloped to Brisbane with her 17 year old boyfriend, yesterday described her bodgie dressed boyfriend as “just a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
couple told the police that they ran away on the spur of the moment and out of a
spirit of adventure.
Margaret Dye, dressed in a tight knit skirt and a jumper, looked at her
drape coated escort, Robert Hawkins, 17, and said: “We don’t think that we are a
bodgie and a widgie although other people do. All the young people dress like
this in Sydney.
Margaret was due to be returned to her parents in Sydney by the police.
Courier Mail Wednesday 15 January
A Brisbane disc jockey said last night he would smash his Elvis Presley records. He is Alex Shiren of the Courier Mail station 4BK. The disc jockey said he would follow the lead of an American radio station KWK, in St. Louis, which is staging a revolt against rock ‘n’ roll. The US station is playing each “rock” record from its library once, then breaking it with a sharp snap audible to listeners. Shiren said: “This is a good one. I am heartily sick of my Elvis Presley discs- I’ll play them and break them next Saturday night in ‘Party Time’.
of 4BH (Mr. C. Carson) said yesterday that rock ‘n’ roll was on its way out in
Brisbane. Our station cancelled a Tuesday night session which was mainly this
music because we thought it was beginning to affront a lot of adults. “Only a
rowdy, noisy minority mainly teenagers, clamour for it now,” Mr. Carson
Studio Manager (Mr. D. Magoffin) said: “I can’t stand rock ‘n’ roll. But we’ve
got to be tolerant. There’s always a current teenager craze in music- the
Charleston, jazz, swing, and now rock ‘n’ roll. I’d give it another six
Courier Mail Thursday 16
Jenkins (Courier Mail 14 January 1958) as well as many others, has just gone too
far in expressing his dislike for rock ‘n’ roll music. This time it is ‘Diana’
by Paul Anka. It seems that the latest craze with some “grown ups” is to write
to the papers every time they hear a new rock ‘n’ roll song. Yet, I never hear
them grumbling about the tripe “sung” by Sinatra and co., which is enough to
send anyone crazy. If. P. G. Jenkins does not like ‘Diana,’ then why listen to
it. There are other radio stations to listen to.”
Williams, 1 Lamrock Street, Holland Park.
roll has rhyme but no reason. These simple tunes often romp along with catchy
beat and cadence, but their rhythms are as primitive as any fundamental actions,
and very often, just as vulgar. The lyrics of these musical nursery rhymes are
without syntax or prose. However, rock 'n' roll and all other forms of bodgie
music have their own noisy following. However, for disc jockeys to object
publicly to those offending rhythms and their rude exponents is mere
exhibitionism. Better not to play those offending trifles when there is so much
else wholesome in the world of song.”
Lambert. 54 Denman Street, Greenslopes.